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Gopal Vittal, Airtel CEO said that tariffs being currently levied need to increase.
The company executive declined to comment on whether Airtel will be hiking charges.
Jio recently started charging its users 6 paise per minute for voice calls to other networks.
Reliance Jio commenced commercial operations in September 2016 and upended the telecom sector. The telco promised free calls and offered data at a much lower rate than the competition. However, it recently announced that its users will be charged 6 paise per minute on voice calls to other networks as Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC), which Jio was apparently paying from its pockets. While users of Jio’s service might be crying foul, rival telcos are mocking Jio’s decision on social media. However, the CEO of Airtel, Gopal Vittal has now said that the tariff being charged currently is unsustainable and should go up.
At a panel discussion that was held at the recently concluded Indian Mobile Congress 2019 (IMC 2019), Vittal said, “We believe tariffs are unsustainable. We believe tariffs need to go up. We have always maintained this stand. If investments don't come in this industry, we will not meet the aspirations that Digital India has. In the last five years, the investment that has happened in this industry needs to be put back again in the next five years.” However, the executive declined to comment when asked whether Airtel is planning to increase tariffs.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed bringing down IUC charges to zero by the end of 2019, after reducing it to 6 paise from 14 paise. However, it now proposed extending the IUC charges that are being levied from telcos.
As mentioned earlier, Jio is now charging its users 6 paise per minute for voice calls that are placed to users on other networks like BSNL, Airtel and Vodafone. The prepaid recharge plans by Jio have also been revised to include IUC top-ups, which are priced at Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. While calling other Jio and landing users is still free, one will be charged when calling other users. You can read more about ṭhe revised recharge options by Jio here.
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