‘All good things must come to an end’: Mobile tariffs set to soar from tomorrow

Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea have offloaded the financial burden on their customers by increasing the tariffs

The days of cheap data tariffs are over. (Source: Reuters)

The three leading telecom companies – Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea – have finally announced the new tariffs that kick in within a matter of days. Telcos have argued these measures are optimally suited for shoring up revenue as the industry claims it is crippled by the increasing financial crunch. The industry-wide price spike comes duly after the cut-throat war among the telcos to provide the cheapest services to consumers in a bid to capture the lion’s share in the market. But the process left the industry bleeding.

Said to be the biggest price revision in the tariff plans, the average rise in the prepaid offerings stands at 30-35 per cent. Airtel and Vodafone Idea have said the updated pricing for the prepaid plans kicks in starting December 3, while Jio’s price hike for its prepaid services will begin on December 6.

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Airtel’s top-tier tariff plan now costs Rs 2,398, providing customers with 365 days of validity comprising unlimited calls, 1.5GB data per day, and 100 SMS per day. There is a FUP limit on the unlimited calls made to other networks. The customer will be charged at 6 paise per minute after exhausting 12,000 minutes. This plan was earlier priced at Rs 1,699 with the exact same offerings. Airtel has stated that the increase in the tariff stands at Rs 1.64 per day.

Similarly, Vodafone Idea now charges Rs 2,399 for its high-end prepaid plan, crediting customers’ account with unlimited voice (along with 12,000 minutes for off-net calls), 1.5GB data per day, and 100 SMS per day spanning over 365 days from the date of activation. The yearly plan was priced at Rs 1,699 earlier with the same bundle.

As per Reliance Jio, the company has suggested the tariffs will be hiked by up to 40 per cent, without divulging the new plans. However, the Mukesh Ambani-owned telco has stressed its plans will deliver up to 300 per cent more benefits than the rivals. The plans are yet to be updated on the website.

Notably, Reliance Jio began charging its customers, 335 million in number as per TRAI’s data, 6 paise per minute to compensate for the loss occurring due to calls made to other networks. The telecom company has urged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to bring down the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) to zero for ‘sustainability’ of the telecom sector.

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