Bharti Airtel has hiked call tariffs by 20 % in five of its leading circles including Gujarat for its prepaid subscribers which constitutes 95 % of the entire subscriber base.
The hikes announced on Friday will be also be implemented in New Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh circles. It will be implemented on calls and SMS rates within the Airtel network while tariffs remain unchanged for calls and text messages sent from Airtel to other operators.
An Airtel spokesperson said, “Telecom is probably the only industry where despite increasing inflation, tariffs have been falling unabatedly. Continuously declining margins, high 3G and BWA auction prices, constrained spectrum and rural rollout aspirations leave us with little choice but to make some price corrections.”
Bharti Airtel, which recently restructured its Indian and South Asia operations, reported a fifth straight drop in quarterly profits in May this year, battered by low margins in its Africa operations and escalating interest costs on acquisition of 3G licenses. Bharti Airtel’s revenue market share as reported by sector regulator Trai stood at 31.3% for FY11 compared to 32.7% for FY10, a drop of 1.4%.