Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday blamed the Congress for the ongoing stress in the country’s telecom sector, even as his party’s government is ruling the country for the second consecutive term. The remarks from the minister comes at a time when all the three majorn private telecom operators in the country announced to raise their tariffs after posting massive loss.
Mobile calls and internet charges will go up by up to 50 per cent in the country from December 3, as private sector players - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio has announced to raise tariffs. "The mobile phone mess was the scam-tainted legacy of UPA. We have set it right, expanded mobile telephony with consumer satisfaction. Also committed to making BSNL/ MTNL professional and profitable," Prasad wrote on Twitter.
"Government of Narendra Modi inherited high cost of the mobile internet from UPA, which was as high as â‚¹268.97 per GB in 2014. Now it is â‚¹ 11.78 per GB, as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)."
Sharing a report by UK firm, the minister claimed that per GB internet rate was the cheapest in India. “India’s Mobile Internet rate per GB remains by far the lowest in the world. UK based cable.co.uk which compared mobile data plans around the world has indicated this,” he added.
This will be the first hike in last five years in the country’s telecom space that was facing bruising tariff war, with voice calls becoming almost free and data prices fell by 95 per cent to Rs 11.78 per GB from Rs 269 per GB in 2014. While Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have shared new rates in the “unlimited” category that will replace their existing pre-paid plans with up to 50 per cent higher cost, Reliance Jio said it will roll out new all-in-one plans with unlimited voice and data at up to 40 per cent higher price from December 6.
Vodafone Idea was first to announce “new tariffs/plans for its prepaid products and services. New plans will be available across India starting 00:00 hours of 3 December 2019”. Bharti Airtel followed Vodafone Idea by announcing similar plans to raise mobile pre-paid services rates. Vodafone Idea announced maximum increase of 50 per cent in its entry level unlimited plan with a year-long validity of Rs 1,499 with 24 GB data usage limit in place of Rs 999 plan, which comes with 12 GB data usage limit.
Bharti Airtel too announced a similar level of change but kept price of most of the new plans lower by Re 1 compared to that of Vodafone Idea. From December 3, customers of these two companies will have to shell out a minimum of Rs 49 to make calls, access the internet on mobile and stay connected for four weeks. Reliance Jio also announced with plans to raise mobile services rates from December 6 onwards.