Stung by the ongoing telecom crisis, Bharti Airtel said on Monday it will increase telecom service rates from 1 December, 2019. The announcement comes hours after Vodafone Idea saying on Monday that it will "suitably increase the prices of its tariffs" from 1 December. Both the players, however, did not announce the quantum of hike that is expected to be worked out between now and 1 December.
"We understand that TRAI is likely to initiate a consultation for bringing rationality in pricing in the Indian mobile sector which has been operating at prices that have been eroding the viability of the sector," Airtel said in its statement.
"Sector is highly capital intensive with fast changing tech cycles that require continuing investments. It is, therefore, extremely important that industry remains viable to support vision of Digital India. Accordingly, company will hike prices from December," the company further said.
Bharti Airtel stock on Monday ended 4.62% higher at ₹411.20.
Bharti Airtel posted a staggering ₹23,045 crore net loss for the July-September quarter due to provisioning of ₹28,450 crore in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on statutory dues. Airtel and Vodafone Idea have posted a combined loss of ₹74,000 crore in Q2 by provisioning for the AGR pending dues.
"The acute financial stress in the telecom sector has been acknowledged by all stakeholders and a high level Committee of Secretaries (CoS) headed by the Cabinet Secretary is looking into providing appropriate relief," Vodafone said.
Vodafone has hinted at not being able to remain as a going concern if relief does not come for the sector.