Airtel pre-paid tariff goes up by 20 pc

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest telecom company by subscribers, on Friday announced a 20 per cent increase in pre-paid tariffs of its “Advantage” and “Freedom” packs for calls and SMS sent within Airtel network.

Users of the “Advantage” pack, which is based on per minute billing, will now have to pay 60 paise instead of 50 paise per minute for local and STD calls and 90 paise for calls to landlines.

Further, Re. 1 and Rs. 1.5 will be charged for local and national SMS, respectively. Existing users will have to pay for new rates after the validity of their existing vouchers end.

Similarly, the users of per second billing-based “Freedom” pack will be charged 1.2 paise for local and STD calls on mobile.

The new tariff structure has been announced for Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh telecom circles.

However, Airtel has not changed tariffs of rack rates, which means customers not opting for the “Advantage” and “Freedom” packs will have to pay the old rates of Re. 1 for local and Rs. 1.5 for STD calls.

“Telecom is probably the only industry where despite increasing inflation, tariffs have been falling unabatedly. Continuously declining margins, high 3G and BWA auction prices, constrained spectrum and rural roll out aspirations leave us with little choice but to make some price corrections,” an Airtel spokesperson said.

As per a recent TRAI report, Airtel had in May 2011 over 16.7 crore mobile phone customers, which makes for 19.88 per cent share of the market.

The company shares today closed 3.99 per cent higher at Rs. 410.95 on the BSE.

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