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India's No 2 carrier Bharti Airtel Tuesday raised the entry level tariff plans to 155 from 99 earlier, in seven more circles of Karnataka, Bihar, North East, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP West.

The carrier is now charging the minimum amount in nine circles of the total 22 circles. The telco had changed the entry level plans in Haryana and Odisha to 155 in November last year.

“In line with our focus on providing better customer experience, we have discontinued the metered tariff and introduced an entry level plan of Rupees 155 with unlimited voice, 1GB of data and 300 SMS. Customers can now use this plan with no constraints. We believe this plan will provide greater flexibility, convenience and superior value," an Airtel spokesperson said, confirming the development.

Airtel’s stock rose 0.36% after the change was made effective on Tuesday afternoon, closing at 775.5 on BSE.

A senior executive had told Mint recently that the carrier had seen less than anticipated churn after introducing the plan and would extend it to other circles. “We thought we would see an elevated level of churn, or SIM consolidation, but the churn is much lower than what we thought it would be. The pilot still ongoing, if it all works, then we will assess when to roll it out (to other circles)," the executive said, adding that customers were sticking on because of larger benefits including higher data usage, compared to the previous plan.

SIM consolidation takes place when people using more than one SIM stop using their second or third SIMs.

The change, which analysts refer to as correction of baseline tariffs, effectively enables the telco to charge more from prepaid customers which represents majority of its user base. Telcos last raised tariffs in November 2021 on the pre-paid plans by 20-25%.

Top executives from Airtel and Vodafone have said that tariffs needed to rise as they were the lowest in the world. Sunil Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Enterprises, the parent of Bharti Airtel, said last week that tariffs should rise to 300 a month while Vodafone Idea top executives have previously said that tariffs needed to go up in order to ensure sustainability of the capital-intensive telecoms business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gulveen Aulakh

Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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