Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal today said the company has not initiated any tariff war with the launch of per-second billing and is merely responding to the market needs.
“The tariff war has not been launched by us. We responded as we did not have a choice. We have always said we will never lead the price war, but responding to the needs of the market is something that every sector and industry has to do,” Mittal said on the sidelines of India Economic Summit.
Asked how the tariff war will affect the industry, Mittal said, “In the next two quarters we will know where it is, so you will have to wait for the outcome.”
Most telcos like Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL and Aircel have launched per-second billing, charging customers on the basis of seconds instead of the earlier per minute charge.
Industry experts feel that per-second billing is going to adversely impact the bottomlines of the Indian telcos, which are already offering the lowest call rates.
Mittal said the government needs to reduce taxes if tariffs are to be lowered further.
“If the government wants to lower tariffs further, then it needs to look at reduction in tax structure for the industry which are in the region of 30 per cent,” Mittal said.
Talking about 3G auctions, Mittal said, “We are worried that it is continously getting delayed for one reason or the other. We really hope that the 3G auction happen sooner than later because India needs broadband wireless.”
He also said there were four slots for 13 operators, which may lead to more intense bidding for the 3G spectrum.
On acquisitions, Mittal said Bharti Airtel is not looking at anything currently. “No, we are taking a break,” he said.