Telecom service providers in India have started increasing the prices of their prepaid tariff plans, as part of an effort to reportedly help the industry currently facing a financial crunch.
Vodafone Idea (Vi) recently introduced a price hike of up to Rs 500 on its prepaid packs. The premium Rs 2,399 plan, which offers 1.5GB of daily data, 100 daily SMS messages, and unlimited calls for 365 days, is now priced at Rs 2,899.
The Rs 1,499 plan is now priced at Rs 1,799, although the benefits of 24GB data, 2,600 SMS messages, and unlimited calls with 365 days validity remain the same. Similarly, the Rs 699 prepaid plan (2GB daily data) and Rs 599 (1.5GB daily data) are now priced at Rs 839 and Rs 599, respectively. Both plans come with 84 days validity, 100 SMS messages per day, and unlimited calls.
The 56-day pack priced at Rs 449 (2GB daily data) and Rs 399 (1.5GB daily data) are now available at Rs 539 and Rs 479. Meanwhile, the four 28-day packs are now priced at Rs 179, Rs 269, Rs 299, and Rs 359, respectively.
Vodafone’s announcement came after Airtel kicked off its own mobile tariff hikes, which saw its cheapest plan of Rs 79 now priced at Rs 99, while the highest end Rs 2,499 plan now comes with Rs 2,999 price tag.
In a statement, Vodafone said the price hike will help improve the average revenue per user (ARPU) as well as “help address financial stress faced by the industry.” A high ARPU will allow the telecom service provider to focus on making “India’s fastest mobile network,” according to Vodafone.
It’s worth noting that India is now considered one of the top five gaming markets around the world, and it owes the growth of this mobile-first market to the availability of affordable digital tools and what used to be affordable data packs offered in the country. Proprietary data from ENV Media showed that “handheld devices approach a 90% share which is in line with global and regional consumption tendencies – both in iGaming and beyond.”
According to ENV Media researchers, “around half of all smartphone users in India play mobile games” with Android devices as “the primary medium” for online and offline games: “The Covid-19 pandemic was an unexpected event for all. Yet, it turned into a factor that pushed most digital trends in the same direction they had already taken. Reportedly, around half of all smartphone users in India play mobile games at this point. Over the course of a difficult year for humanity, many consumers found solace and entertainment outlets in mobile games, spending more than an hour with them, on average.”
The recent prepaid plan price hikes are expected to affect how online bettors—whether newbies or veteran online gambling players—interact with online platforms that offer live cricket satta rates given how the new prepaid plans will overburden the consumers’ pockets. For their part, however, the telecom companies have promised better and faster Internet connectivity in exchange for the higher tariff.
Airtel, which has been trialing its 5G services in the mobile-first country, said the new mobile tariffs will give it more room for the wider commercial rollout of 5G services in India as early as next year. Rivals Reliance Jio and Vivo have also provided tentative timelines for their own 5G rollout in India sometime in 2022.