Airtel increases base rates by almost 57% in seven regions

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The company has gone from a Rs 99 package to a Rs 155 package. (representative)

Bangalore:

Bharti Airtel, India’s No. 2 telecom carrier according to subscribers, has introduced a new entry-level plan for Rs 155 in seven regions, the company’s spokesperson said on Tuesday, effectively raising base rates by almost 57%.

The new plan was introduced in the states of Karnataka, Bihar and Rajasthan, among others, after the discontinuation of the existing 99 rupee tariffs, the spokesperson added.

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The company had piloted the new plan in Odisha and Haryana late last year.

Telecom companies were widely expected to raise rates to boost revenue after spending billions of dollars on the 5G auction last year.

Airtel’s average revenue per user (ARPU), a key performance indicator for telecom companies, was Rs 190 in the September quarter, up 3.8% sequentially and up about 24% year-on-year.

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The ARPU had to be 200 rupees and eventually 300 rupees for a financially sound business model, Airtel said in November 2021 when it last raised rates.

Bigger rival Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, had an ARPU of 177.2 rupees in the September quarter, which rose slightly to 178.2 rupees in the December quarter.

Jio, which disrupted the industry with cut rates in 2016, has not raised rates in more than a year.

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