Leading telecom operators raise mobile internet rates by up to 100% in India

Leading telecom companies in India including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have increased the price rates of their mobile internet services by up to 100%. You heard that right, these three telecom operators have decided to hit you where it hurts because web-based apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Line are strangling the revenue flow they once enjoyed from voice calls and text messages.

You’d think it isn’t so big of deal seeing as we’re only talking about a trio of network providers, but Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India together claim roughly 57% of the market share of mobile services here. The first mentioned operator alone has over 200 million customers in the country. So the hike will obviously have an affect on a large number of people.

Vodafone And Airtel SIM Cards

IBNLive cites a PTI report which says Idea and Vodafone have been raising the rates of their wireless internet facilities gradually since June 2014. Airtel recently joined the party by increasing the cost of its mobile data service by almost 33%. This comes after the TRAI refused to comply with telecom brands’ demands asking for a share of profits made by OTT app developers.

Related post: TRAI refuses to regulate OTT services like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp

Vodafone, Idea and Bharti Airtel were among the parties insistent upon the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India demanding a set fee from those behind over-the-top or data-based applications like WhatApp, Hike and others. Their justification was that such apps are stealing a major chunk of the earnings they previously raked in from SMS and voice calls, and hence ought to pay for the ‘damages.’

P2P Versus OTT Services

Now the three major companies we’ve mentioned above charge Rs 175 instead of Rs 155 for 1GB of 2G data. In case you decide to just pay as you go (PAYG) instead of signing up for a plan, it could cost you a whopping Rs 10000 for 1GB used. That’s right, Airtel has set its price at 10 paise for 10kb of 2G data. So the only sensible thing to do would be to make for the scheme instead of PAYG.

Also see: 3G services expected to cover 90 pct of A-grade circles in India by 2015

Vodafone and Idea are reported to have hiked rack rate, or the amount charged without any scheme, by 100%. So the mobile internet price for 1GB of 3G or 2G data from either is fixed at 4 paise per 10kb right now. Airtel has also made the change, although it shows only a 33% increase when compared to its older demand for 3 paise for every 10kb used.