Sunil Mittal hints at rate hike in six months

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal on Monday hinted at an increase in mobile services prices in six months, saying that data at low rates is not sustainable for the telecom industry.

Mittal said 16GB data consumption a month for Rs 160 is a tragedy. “You either consume 1.6GB of capacity per month either at this price point or you may prepare to pay a lot more. We are not wanting $50-60 like the US or Europe but certainly $2 for 16GB a month is not sustainable,” Mittal said at a book launch event.

Mittal also said that the average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to cross Rs 200 in six months on digital content consumption.

“We need a Rs 300 ARPU, in which you will still have lower end at Rs 100-a-month with decent amount of data. But if your consumption is largely around watching television, movies, entertainment and depriving other vital special services networks, then you need to pay for that,” Mittal said.

Airtel reported an increase in the ARPU to Rs 157 in the quarter ended June 30, 2020. The rise in ARPU came after the tariff hike by Bharti Airtel in December 2019.

Mittal said that while telecom operators have served the country during the difficult times, the industry needs to invest in 5G, more optical fibres, submarine cables, etc.

“Businesses, which are not in telecom, also need to adopt digital. You should see solid ARPUs building up in the next 5-6 months for the industry to be sustainable. We are down to 2-3 players now. India is a very price-conscious market. In six months time, we should be crossing the mark of Rs 200 for sure and Rs 250 would be ideal,” Mittal said. agencies