Telecom

After Vodafone Idea, Airtel hints towards a tariff hike in 2022

Airtel's second round of tariff hike isn't expected to happen for another three to four months.

Published:Thu, February 10, 2022 1:52pm

By Shweta Ganjoo

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Bharti Airtel raised the tariff of its prepaid and postpaid plans in India in November last year. Now, the telecom giant is planning to go for the second round of tariff hike in the country. However, that isn't expected to happen for at least another three to four months.

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Bharti Airtel MD and CEO for India and South Asia Gopal Vittal while answering analysts' question following the company's quarterly earnings call said that another round of price hike is expected to happen sometime in 2022. "I do expect a tariff hike sometime in 2022. I don't think it's going to happen in the next 3-4 months because the SIM consolidation and growth needs to come back but I do expect another round of tariff increase," Vittal said, as reported by PTI.

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"Of course, it got to be determined by the competitors' dynamics. We would not hesitate to lead just as we have done in the recent past," he added.

Airtel, while announcing its quarterly results for the third quarter of 2021, said that there had been a 2.8% drop in its net profit, which stood at Rs 830 crore. The company had reported a net profit of Rs 854 crore during the same time last year. However, the consolidated revenue of the company increased by 12.6% to Rs 29,867 crore during the Q3 2021, compared to Rs 26,518 crore in the December 2020 quarter. Additionally, Airtel's Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) improved to Rs 163 in the past quarter.

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"We hope that the APRU of the industry, our APRU gets to Rs. 200 soon preferably in 2022 itself then roughly settles soon after in the next few years to Rs 300 which is the modest and good level of ARPU which can then turn return on capital of 15 percent," Vittal added.

Airtel also shared that its 4G customer base in India grew by 18.1% year-on-year to 19.5 crore in December 2021 quarter compared to 16.56 crore in December 2020 quarter and that its data usage per customer grew 11.7% to 18.28GB compared to 16.37GB during the same time a year ago.

It is worth noting that Airtel is not the only company that is planning to hike tariffs this year. Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar while announcing the quarterly revenue for the third quarter of 2022 had said that the company would increase the tariffs for its 4G plans either in 2022 or in 2023. "It's possible that there could be another price hike in 2022," he had said.

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