This is the first major tariff hike by the company since December 2019, when all the telcos had increased rates.
Following Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea on Tuesday raised prepaid tariffs across the board by 20-25% in its bid to improve realisations. The company, which is debt-ridden and weakest among the telecom operators, currently has an average realisation per user (Arpu) of Rs 109 – the lowest among mobile operators. This is the first major tariff hike by the company since December 2019, when all the telcos had increased rates. Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had undertaken a limited tariff hike in corporate postpaid plans and entry-level prepaid plan in July this year.
Reliance Jio may also hike tariffs in the days to come but even after that its tariffs are expected to remain lower than what Bharti and Vodafone Idea are offering.
The new rates of Vodafone Idea will come into effect from November 25. “The new plans will start the process of Arpu improvement and help address the financial stress faced by the industry,” Vodafone Idea said in a statement.
Vodafone Idea CEO and managing director Ravinder Takkar had said the company won’t be an outlier in terms of raising tariffs but would also not shy of taking the first step when the time was right. “I am confident that the pricing will start to improve, hopefully in the coming weeks and months. The average Arpu of the industry today is around Rs 130. Five years ago in 2016, it was over Rs 200. So, the most important thing is that we first we need to get the Arpu back to Rs 200 and eventually to Rs 300,” he had said after the announcement of the government’s telecom revival package.
Like Bharti, Vodafone Idea has also increased the rates for entry-level plan by about 25% while for all other plans, the hike is around 20%. The rates of data top-up plans, too, have been increased by around 20%.
The entry-level plan now comes for Rs 99, against Rs 79 earlier, which works out to an increase of 25.3%. This comes with 28 days’ validity and benefits like talktime worth Rs 99, 200MB data, 1p/sec voice tariff. The other categories where a hike has been announced are unlimited voice bundles and data top-ups.
Similarly, in the higher denomination plans, the earlier package of Rs 149 will now be Rs 179 with a validity of 28 days and benefits such as unlimited calling, 300 SMS, 2 GB data; even as at the top end the Rs 2,399 plan has been hiked to Rs 2,899 and comes with 365 days for unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day and 1.5 GB/day data. For data top-ups, the Rs 48 plan would now cost Rs 58, offering 3 GB data; while the `98 plan has been increased to Rs 118 with 12 GB data. The company has also announced a tariff hike in Rs 251 data top-up plan, which will now cost Rs 298 with 50 GB data.