New Delhi: You could see an increase in your mobile phone bills as soon as telecommunications companies begin the next round of rate hikes. Bharti Airtel has already increased prepaid rates in two circles, for those who carry, up to 57%. Analysts say this could trigger a widespread increase in mobile top-up.
The private telecommunications service provider has reportedly increased the price of its minimum recharge package for 28 days by around 57% to Rs 155 in Haryana and Odisha. Airtel will soon discontinue the Rs 99 plan (which offered Rs 99 talk time, 200MB data and 28 days validity) in both states and will now offer Rs 155 as its lowest prepaid recharge plan.

Reports suggest that the telecom operator is also expected to roll out the same pan-India plan.

The other minimum recharge plans of Rs 109 and Rs 111 (valid for 1 month each) have also shown to be discontinued/unavailable, according to a report from Morgan Stanley, which said the plans are active in other circles . “We believe the current decision underscores Bharti’s strong intention to lead the next round of rate hikes, although it is essential to see whether the competition will follow.”

Calculated risk to verify customer reaction

ICICI Securities in a brokerage note said that Bharti Airtel embarked on a fare hike to test the market in Haryana and Odisha circles, and the move just added huge risk to the increase in its estimates. So Bharti took a calculated risk to check customer reaction, and this pack is largely sold only to 2G customers.

“The earlier recharge of Rs 99 had a talk time value of Rs 99 and very limited data of 200MB valid for 28 days. In contrast, the minimum recharge of Rs 155 now adopted gives unlimited voice, data allowance of 1GB and 300 SMS. This is a massive 57% increase in minimum top-up value, and was achieved in the customer segment where affordability matters most,” the report states.

Airtel previously undertook a similar price hike (market test) when it increased its minimum recharge offer from Rs 79 to Rs 99 in some circles in 2021. 28 days of calls with SMS and tariffed data. below Rs 155.

Meanwhile, it is expected that other telecom operators may also soon announce a hike in tariffs to make up for the huge amount of Rs 1.5 lakh crore spent in the 5G spectrum auctions which ended ago. some months.