Vodafone, Airtel, Jio hike tariffs by 40-50%, effective from Dec 3

The government has decided to provide a ₹42,000 crore relief to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio. Representational image.

Hours after Vodafone announced the increased tariffs on Sunday (December 1), Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio followed suit and announced their tariffs which will be effective from December 3 and 6 respectively.

Telecom operators Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel announced new plans under which call and data charges will be dearer for its pre-paid customers by up to 50% from December 3. However, Airtel’s tariffs are marginally lower compared to new rates announced by Vodafone Idea. Reliance Jio to launch new unlimited plans from December 6, which will raise its voice and data tariff by up to 40%.

Vodafone Idea promises unlimited mobile and data services 

“Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), India’s leading telecom service provider, today announced new tariffs/plans for its prepaid products and services. New plans will be available across India starting 00:00 hours of 3 December 2019,” the company said in a statement.

The company will increase its entry-level unlimited plan with a year-long validity by about 50%  to ₹1,499 from with 24 GB of data instead of ₹999 plan, which comes with 12 GB data usage limit.

The price of plan with 365 days validity in the same category with daily data usage limit of 1.5 GB per day will cost 41.2% more at ₹2,399 from December 3 as against 1,699 at present.

Vodafone Idea has only revised rates of plan promising unlimited mobile and data services and also introduced some new plans.

A company official explained all the existing plans in the unlimited category and will be replaced by the new plans from December 3 and new plans will be introduced or revised based on market response.

Also read | Policy mess in Indian telecom market leaves Vodafone with no option but to exit

Though the company classifies a set of plans in ‘unlimited’ category, these actually come with usage limit for data at a promised speed and 100 SMS per day limit.

The highest rate of increase of 41.2% has been announced by the company in annual unlimited category plan which will cost ₹2,399 instead of 1,699 at present.

The starting plan with data offering of 1.5 GB per day with 84 days validity in “unlimited” category will cost around 31% more at ₹599 compared to ₹458 at present.

The company will raise the price of ₹199 unlimited plan, which offers 1.5 GB data per day, by about 25% to ₹249.

Vodafone Idea which is reeling under massive debt of around ₹1.17 lakh crore had earlier cited acute financial stress on the company behind the decision to raise mobile call and data charges.

Vodafone Idea last month reported a consolidated loss of ₹50,921 crore — the highest ever loss posted by any Indian corporate — for the September quarter on account of liability arising out of the Supreme Court’s order in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case.

The company has estimated liability of ₹44,150 crore post the apex court order, and made provisioning of ₹25,680 crore in the second quarter this fiscal.

Also read | SC decision on telecom revenue definition to weaken sector viability: Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel to raise mobile calls, data charges

“Airtels new plans, represent tariff increases in the range of a mere 50 paise per day to ₹2.85 per day and offer generous data and calling benefits. These tariffs will be applicable from Tuesday, December 3, 2019,” the company said in a statement.

Bharti Airtel will increase its entry-level unlimited plan with a year-long validity by about 50% to ₹1,499 from with 24 GB of data in place of existing plan of ₹998, which comes with 12 GB data usage limit.

The price 365 days validity plan in the same category with daily data usage limit of 1.5 GB per day will cost 41.2% more at ₹2,398 from December 3 instead of 1,699 at present.

The new pricing represents a very modest increase. The effective revision in today’s context is equal to what a customer would pay for a cup of tea in week on a roadside stall, a company official who did not wish to be named said.

Also read | Govt relief, tariff hike temporary fixes for Bharti, Vodafone Idea

Bharti Airtel has capped outgoing calls that can be made on to the network of other telecom operators to 1,000 minutes in case of plans with 28 days validity, 3,000 in 84 days validity plans and 12,000 in 365 days validity plan. Beyond this limit, the customer will need to pay 6 paisa per minute for outgoing calls.

Highest rate increase of 41.14% has been announced by the company in annual unlimited category plan which will cost ₹2,398 instead of 1,699 at present.

The starting plan with data offering of 1.5 GB per day with 84 days validity in ‘unlimited’ category will cost around 31% more at ₹598 compared to ₹458 at present. The company will raise the price of ₹199 unlimited plan, which offers 1.5 GB data per day, by about 25 % to ₹248.

Customers of both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea will have to pay a minimum of ₹49 to stay connected for about a month after December 3.

According to government data, the liabilities in the case of Bharti Airtel add up to nearly ₹35,586 crore, of which ₹21,682 crore is licence fee and another ₹13,904.01 crore is the SUC dues (excluding the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices).

Also read | RJio’s move to charge for calls may force other operators to raise tariffs

Reliance Jio claims 300% more benefits to customers

The Mukesh Ambani led company, however, said that customers will get up to 300% more benefits under the new plans and it will offer fair usage policy for outgoing calls from its subscribers on the network of other telecom operators.

“Jio will be introducing new all-in-one plans with unlimited voice and data. These plans will have a fair usage policy for calls to other mobile networks. The new plans will be effective from 6th December 2019,” the company said in a statement.

Jio said it will continue to work with the government on the consultation process for revision of telecom tariffs and looks forward to participation from all other stakeholders.

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The move from the top companies follows the Supreme Court judgement on adjusted gross revenue. Bharti Airtel has posted a staggering ₹23,045 crore net loss for the second quarter ended September 30, due to provisioning of ₹28,450 crore in the aftermath of the SC ruling on statutory dues.

The government is currently not considering any proposal on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee based on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), or on extending the timelines for telecom companies to pay up their statutory dues.

(With inputs from agencies)