Airtel recharge: Bharti Airtel hikes price of minimum monthly recharge plan by 57% to Rs 155

Private telecom services provider Bharti Airtel has reportedly hiked the price of its minimum recharge for 28 days service plan by around 57% to Rs 155 in Haryana and Odisha. Reports say the company has started trial of its new plan and is likely to roll out the same across India based on the result.

As per news agency PTI, Airtel has stopped its minimum recharge plan of Rs 99, under which it offered 200 megabyte of data and calls at the rate of Rs 2.5 paise per second. Airtel has now started offering the Rs 155-plan with unlimited calling, 1 GB data and 300 SMSes in the aforementioned states.

In a brokerage note, ICICI Securities said that Bharti Airtel has embarked on a market-testing tariff hike in Haryana and Odisha circles, and the move has just added a huge upside risk to its estimates. Bharti has thus taken a calculated risk to check how customers respond, and this pack is largely being sold to 2G customers only. It does not impact the remunerative 4G customers, the report noted.

Airtel ready to walk-the-talk on tariff hikes
“The earlier Rs 99 recharge had Rs 99 talk-time value and very limited data of 200 MB valid for 28 days. In contrast, the now-adopted Rs 155 minimum recharge gives unlimited voice, 1GB data allowance and 300 SMSes. This is a massive 57 per cent surge in minimum recharge value, and has been done in the customer segment where affordability matters the most,” the report said.

Previously, the company did a similar exercise (market-testing) when it increased its minimum recharge offer from Rs 79 to Rs 99 in select circles in 2021, the report said. The telco is now likely to end all 28-day calling plans with SMS and data priced below Rs 155. Customers will now have to shell out Rs 155 even if they want to opt for SMS service in their monthly plan.

“Bharti has taken the industry’s first step in implementing a tariff hike in the current market situation. We expect it to now wait for a competitive reaction. If it does not find enough support, then Bharti may be required to restore the Rs 99 pack. It would then be difficult to imagine who would take the next step for a tariff hike — and would Bharti support it? Or has Bharti ‘made an offer its competitors cannot refuse?’ In our view, yes it has,” the report said.

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