Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone to increase recharge prices: here’s why

Since Reliance Jio’s entry in the telecom sector 3 years ago, we have seen incumbent players Airtel and Vodafone-Idea wage a tariff war in a bid to match the Mukesh Ambani-promoted firm and retain subscribers. But the time for ultra-low-cost data prices and free calls seems to be coming to an end – Jio raised its tariffs for the first time last month due to IUC charges. Now all four operators – Jio, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, and BSNL – have announced they will be increasing prices of their prepaid recharges and postpaid plans in December. We look at the reasons behind the upcoming tariff hike.

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It is clear that unless the government provides more relief to the incumbent operators, the industry will likely end up becoming a duopoly, with Jio accounting for the lion’s share of the market and BSNL-MTNL joint entity a distant second. Jio, on its part, has opposed any government intervention on the matter and opposed COAI’s call for public-sector assistance for the embattled operators. The onus, now, is on the government…