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“Prepare to pay a lot more”- Airtel chairman to subscribers on data plans

The self-proclaimed best network of India is seemingly set to increase the prices of data plans infamous amongst users, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, one of the leading network providers of the country, at an event told subscribers of his company to get “prepared to pay a lot more”, hinting at their airtel data plans of surging the tariff for the various plans.

He called the current data options and charges as a ‘tragedy’ for the company. Mr. Mittal said that the rates at which the service is offered now are unsustainable.

The statements were recorded by the media during the launch of a book written by Akhil Gupta, executive of Bharti Enterprises.

According to him, users who are presently getting 16 GB of data for a meager amount of Rs. 160 should actually receive only 1.6 GB. That is, for Rs. 160, they should be getting 1.6 GB that isn’t happening as of now. He pointed out that, however, these prices do not need to fall in line with what users of the US and Europe are paying which is much more.

“You either consume 1.6GB of capacity per month either at this price point or you may prepare to pay a lot more,” Mittal said at an event, according to PTI. “We don’t want $50-60 (roughly Rs. 3,700 – Rs. 4,400) like the US or Europe but certainly $2 (roughly Rs. 160) for 16GB a month is not sustainable,” Mr. Mittal said.

His term of ‘tragedy’, the PTI reported, referred to the business of the company if it provides 16 GB of data for just Rs. 160. He said that subscribers cannot be offered such a big deal at that less price, adding that the right data plan for Rs. 160 would be a provision of 1.6 GB data. This would mean Rs.100 for 1 GB, as opposed to the current pricing of almost Rs. 10 per GB.

Airtel data plan of 24 days comes for Rs. 199 in which it offers 1 GB daily limit. Upon calculating this, 1 GB would cost a little more than Rs. 8.

According to the chairman, for a sustainable business venture, it is important for the average revenue to be collected from consumers to fall at Rs. 300. His goal is to take the ARPU to a minimum of Rs. 200 in a span of six months.

“We need an Rs. 300 ARPU in which you will still have a lower end at Rs. 100 a month with a decent amount of data. But if your consumption is largely around watching TV, movies, entertainment, and depriving other vital special services networks, then you need to pay for that,” Mr. Mittal said.

After its December 2019’s jump in tariff plans, Airtel recorded a rise in ARPU which stood at Rs. 157 in June 2020, in a report by PTI. Yet, this figure still isn’t close enough to meet Mr. Mittal’s aim-Rs. 300.