Telecom companies may hike mobile call charges by 10 paise per minute

Although India is currently known for the lowest call tariffs in the world due to the intense competition that started amongst telecom service providers in 2008, the scene may soon change with the companies now planning on hiking the charges.

According to sources, mobile subscribers may soon face a 15 percent rise in call charges. Following the hike, call tariffs could go up to 70 – 80 paise per minute from the existing 60 – 70 paise a minute. The raise is expected to be a calibrated one over the next 1-2 years but may not be a sustained gradual increase.

In the previous quarter, leading service providers like Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communication and Vodafone had raised their call rates by an average 4 percent, which however didn’t lead to a fall in call volumes. Almost all providers are in favour of the hike considering the easing competition and the return of pricing power.

Speaking about this, a top executive at one of India’s largest mobile phone operators said, “All we want is 10 paise (per minute) more from customers. And that too, over a period of time, not at one go. I am sure they (customers) won’t mind. The extra 10 paise is all that most top mobile phone operators would need to boost profitability, and generate enough cash to fund capital expenditure plans which would be the bedrock of their future growth.”