Airtel and Idea clear the air on tariff hike, claim base tariffs remain the same, changes made to promotional vouchers and other offers

The ongoing debate over the hike in tariffs by Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular intensified further as now both the operators are clearing the air regarding by saying that they have not made any changes in the prevailing headline tariffs, as the alterations have only been done to the promotional benefits, bonus cards and special tariff vouchers.

In an official statement by an Airtel spokesperson to BGR India, the operator said that it has not increased the headline tariffs and the call rates remain the same as earlier. They also added that there has been some confusion created over the changes they made to the promotion-offers and benefits on tariff cards.

According to the operator, they have now raised the threshold on the full talk-time card vouchers, reduced the discounted minutes on the special talk-time vouchers and changed the validity periods of other such schemes carrying discounted service offering charges, which is why the confusion has been generated.

Earlier the talk-time card that costed Rs 30, is now for Rs 45. However, these price changes in cards also vary from circle to circle. The company officials have stated that they have reduced promotional benefits and free minutes on both acquisition and existing usage in most circles.

Agreeing to the same, a spokesperson from Idea told BGR India that they have now withdrawn some of the promotional offers, which have resulted in the surge in tariffs, though there has not been any alteration in the base tariffs. They have made some uniform changes in the promotional offers and discount vouchers, which would reduce the call charges.

On the other hand, operators like Vodafone official stated that they welcome the price rationalisation for bonus cards, Special Tariff Vouchers and free minutes from their competitors. Also, they added that they are studying these moves made by other operators across all their circles. Besides this, there has not been any decision taken on their further moves.

Either way, the operators opt to be defensive on these shuffling of plans, however in the end consumer will bear the brunt of it. As the operators make changes in schemes, the call rates surge up by over 100 per cent, in the process affecting the end consumers. The point of the matter remains that from now onwards consumers will have to be prepared to pay more for using their services.

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