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How The Tariff Hikes by Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel Will Affect You The last few months have brought the telcos under massive pressure with regulatory hurdles and an adverse court judgment resulting in massive losses for some in the last reported quarter. In order to ease some of the pressure, all the major operators have announced tariff hikes for prepaid customers.

By Debroop Roy

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The last few years have seen the telecom industry in India getting transformed. With the launch of free voice calls and cheap data three years ago, Mukesh Ambani's ambitious plan with Reliance Jio disrupted the entire ecosystem and forced all major players to change their strategy, in turn, ensuring a constant battle that kept customers happy.

People stopped paying for calls, and got the power of 4G internet for a fraction of what they were paying earlier.

But these last few months have brought the telcos under massive pressure with regulatory hurdles building pressure and an adverse court judgment resulting in massive losses for some in the last reported quarter.

Vodafone Idea, posted a loss of INR 50,921 crore in the September quarter while Airtel posted a loss of INR 23,045 crore. Jio, on the other hand, reported a profit of INR 990 crore for the same period.

In order to ease some of the pressure, all the major telcos have announced tariff hikes for prepaid customers.

How It Affects You

Vodafone Idea, the worst affected of the lot, has introduced new plans where prepaid customers will be charged as much as about 40 per cent more, apart from an extra 6 paise per minute for every call made to a rival network number.

Its "unlimited packs' allow for certain free minutes for calls to other networks. These packs range from a validity of 2 to 365 days, and cost between INR 19 and INR 2399. Through these packs, customers are allowed to make unlimited calls on the same network, while internet data varies for each.

Airtel's tariff hikes are in the range of 50 paise per day to INR 2.85 per day. While its smallest INR 19 pack remains unchanged, the price of the INR 35 and INR 65 packs have increased to INR 49 and INR 79 respectively. These packs offer limited talktime for calls and some internet data.

All Airtel packs priced at INR 148 (earlier INR 129) and above have unlimited calling available to same network numbers, and a limit for free calls to other networks. Post the free calls, customers will be charged 6 paise per minute. For packs above INR 169, the company is offering benefits such as access to entertainment and music apps.

Jio, following the two others, also announced tariff hikes of upto 40 per cent but said "staying true to its promise of being customer-first, Jio customers will get up to 300 per cent more benefits". Details of Jio's new plans have not yet been revealed but new reports suggest that they will be cheaper than other operators.

While Airtel and Vodafone Idea's new plans are already live, Jio has said its plans will come into effect from December 6.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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