Incumbent telco Airtel is all set to increase tariffs from December. This move comes, amidst the recent Supreme Court ruling that directed Airtel and Vodafone, along with other telcos to shell up as much as a combined Rs 92000 crore in charges amounting to spectrum usage, license fees, and more. Now, Airtel, on its part, has officially stated that it would be increasing costs soon.
“The telecom sector is highly capital intensive with fast-changing technology cycles that require continuing investments. It is, therefore, extremely important that the industry remains viable to support the vision of Digital India. Accordingly, Airtel will appropriately increase price offerings in the month beginning December,” stated Airtel in a media statement.
Airtel also states that it would still be looking at offering value-driven services at appropriate and affordable costs to consumers. It also added that It would invest in digital infrastructure to maintain quality standards. However, the exact increase in tariffs is yet to come to the fore. Not too long ago, there were talks of another incumbent telco Vodafone increasing its tariff to continue offering quality services.
Also, at this juncture, TRAI is all set to implement the zero-termination charge, also called as Bill-and-keep (BAK) regime from 1 January 2020. Telcos Airtel and Vodafone had earlier favoured a move by TRAI to defer the implementation date of BAK. However, both Reliance Jio, as well as the Broadband India Forum (BIF), have opposed any move to defer BAK implementation. This was in response to TRAI’s recent consultation paper seeking industry leaders’ inputs about the implementation of BAK.
Finally, would increased tariffs from AIrtel, and potentially by Vodafone, lead to increased port-outs by subscribers? There is no definitive answer to this question, echoed by a multitude of users of incumbent telcos, only time should tell. Here, even state-led telco BSNL is looking at rolling-out full-fledged 4G services and revamping of a multitude of its offerings.