Airtel, Jio to end unlimited 5G plans by second half of 2024, raise tariffs by up to 10%: Report

Bharati Airtel and Reliance Jio are likely to withdraw their unlimited 5G data plans in the second half of 2024 and charge at least 5-10% extra than the current 4G tariff to boost revenue growth.

Livemint
Updated14 Jan 2024
Airtel 5G Plus services will be made available to customers in a phased manner . (HT Photo)
Airtel 5G Plus services will be made available to customers in a phased manner . (HT Photo)(HT_PRINT)

In a major blow to 5G users in India, the country's two largest telecom operators, Bharati Airtel and Reliance Jio, are likely to withdraw their unlimited 5G data plans in the second half of 2024 and charge at least 5-10% more than the current 4G tariff to drive monetisation and boost revenue growth, according to a report in the Economic Times, citing analysts.

Notably, Reliance Jio and Bharati Airtel launched 5G services in the country in October 2022 and have since been offering unlimited 5G services at existing 4G tariffs. However, the era of unlimited 5G offers seems to be coming to an end soon, with both companies planning to roll out 5G services across the country and focus more on monetisation as adoption increases.

The two companies have also been at the forefront of the 5G revolution in India, with over 125 million 5G users between them. Furthermore, the number of 5G users in the country is expected to exceed 200 million by the end of 2024.

What happens after unlimited 5G offer ends?

The ET report, citing a note from Jefferies, noted that Airtel and Jio could increase their 5G plans by 5-10% (compared to current 4G plans) while offering 30-40% additional data in order to improve adoption and increase market share.

The report also added that mobile tariffs may increase by at least 20% in the September quarter of 2024, in order to improve RoCE (return on capital employed).

The ET report, while citing International Telecom Union data, noted that there is still enough room for telcos to raise prices as the telecom service tariff in India is still the lowest in the world at $2 per month. Moreover, it has been more than two years since Jio, Vi and Airtel last hiked their tariffs by 19-25% in November 2021.

Reportedly, Airtel will be the first to hike tariffs, followed by Vodafone Idea and Jio, leading to an increase in India's mobile sector revenues in 2024. According to CLSA estimates cited by ET, India's mobile sector revenue is expected to grow from an estimated 2,46,800 crore in FY24 to 2,77,300 crore and 3,07,800 crore in FY25 and FY26 respectively.

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