Bharti Airtel Hikes Tariff for Data Top-up Plans
In a move that could set the tone for the new paradigm in the telecom industry, Bharti Airtel took the lead in raising pre-paid tariffs by 20-25%. These new tariffs would be effective from 26-November.
The pre-paid set of customers are normally the entry level customers who actually depress the ARPU or the average revenue per customers. Bharti’s endeavour is to first take the ARPU to Rs.200 a month and then gradually scale it up to Rs.300 per month.
Bharti has huge outlays lined up and cannot afford the price war any longer. Bharti’s bet is that with digital contributing the second highest EBIT for Reliance group after oil and petchem, even Jio would not be too inclined to continue the price war any further.
Bharti needs funds to repay the pending AGR dues and spectrum usage charges as well as invest in making its networks more robust to improve voice and data quality ahead of 5G rollout.
With the current ARPU standing at Rs.153 per month, Bharti has made a start by raising the base price of the 28-day pre-paid package from Rs.149 to Rs.179.
This package comes with unlimited calling, up to 100 SMS messages per day and 2 GB data. By making the entry level data plan more expensive, Bharti hopes to give a substantial boost to its ARPU.
The more comprehensive data plan comprising of unlimited voice calling and 1GB of data per day, currently costs Rs.219 for a 28-day package. That pre-paid plan will now stand revised upwards to Rs.265 for the same package.
The higher end 50-GB pre-paid pack, which currently costs Rs.251 for the 28-day pack, now stands enhanced to Rs.301. All these changes will be effective from 26th November.
Apart from these basic data cum voice pack, the additional data pack of 12 GB, which used to cost Rs.98 will now cost Rs.118. The hike across the board ranges from 20% to 25% and the intent is to target the entry level consumers who actually pay below the ARPU.
Sunil Mittal had already mentioned about the need for higher tariffs about 6 months back and had also taken other telecom heads into confidence into the matter to get buy-in.
The stock of Bharti has rallied sharply even in the midst of the weak market on 22nd November on hopes that the new plan would boost their ARPUs.
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