Airtel recently introduced a price hike in seven new circles where it scrapped its Rs 99 minimum prepaid recharge plan and replaced it with a Rs 155 one. Now, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal has confirmed that this wouldn’t be the only price hike as another one is scheduled to take place later this year, across the board.
Mittal said that Airtel has had a healthy balance sheet with no need to raise any capital. However, due to low returns on capital, a price hike in plans from Airtel has become a necessity. “Lot of capital has been injected that has made the balance sheet strong, but the return on capital of this industry is very low. That needs to change. We are talking of small increments that need to come in the Indian tariff situation. I hope half (by mid) of this year,” he told PTI.
While replying to a query regarding the impact of price hike on people, he said that the proposed hike is low compared to the kind of people’s expenses on other things. “Salaries have gone up, rents have gone up except one thing. There is no one complaining. People are consuming 30 GB for almost paying nothing. We don’t have more Vodafone (Idea) type of scenarios in the country,” he added.
Read More: Airtel crosses 10 million users on its 5G network
Apart from this, Mittal also shared his views about the monetisation of 5G where he says that it will happen once the rollout is more widespread. The company now has only about 100 million 2G customers left but Mittal said the company will not shutdown 2G services until the customer base migrates to 4G or 5G.
“We are now coming below 100 million–one of the smallest pool of 2G customers. But we can’t leave them stranded. I would love to switch off the network and save all the investments that go in 2G but there are a large amount of customers who need to upgrade to 4G- 5G phones but for that device prices are currently prohibitive,” Mittal said.