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Tariff hike will not negatively impact affordability: COAI

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Move will lead to better services for consumers, it says

A day after announcing an increase of up to 50% in mobile services tariff, telecom operators on Monday said the move will not impact affordability negatively, instead will lead to better service for consumers as companies invest in long-deferred improvements in their network.

Seeking the government’s support for the move, Rajan Mathews, the director general of industry body COAI, on Monday wrote to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, stating that the increase in tariffs was motivated by the “dire financial situation of most TSPs (telecom service providers) resulting from unsustainable levels of debt incurred for payment of spectrum won in auctions,” among other factors.

Mr. Mathews stated that even after the increase in tariff, telcos will continue to provide the lowest tariff per GB of data at about ₹11. “The rate is well below data rate paid by the customers as recently as four years ago which stood at ₹225/GB, and dramatically below the rates paid by customers in 2010, which was at ₹333 per GB.” In addition, he added that voice rates, too, have seen similar decrease, where some operators are even offering it for free.

Earlier in the day Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also tweeted that as per U.K.-based cable.co.uk, India’s mobile internet rate per GB remains by far the lowest in the world. “Government of @narendramodi inherited high cost of mobile Internet from UPA, which was as high as ₹268.97 per GB in 2014. Now it is ₹ 11.78 per GB, as per TRAI,” he added.

In the letter, Mr. Mathews added that with the increase in tariffs, users can expect better customer service and experience as “TSPs make the long-deferred upgrades and improvements in their network and services resulting from paucity of funds. Customer should also expect to see new technologies being implemented in networks.”

Further, he pointed out that this will also result in improved revenues to the government from the sector which has been declining severely over the past several quarters due to the ailing financial health of the operators.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 9:35:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/tariff-hike-will-not-negatively-impact-affordability-coai/article30142110.ece

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