Mobile call tariffs to hike even further: Mittal

September 6th, 2011 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Mobile call tariffs, which were hiked by many telecom operators a couple of months ago, are expected to witness further increase in the coming months back as the operators would try to offset the lower revenue from rural markets, said Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said.

In rural markets, consumers typically make fewer phone calls than in cities and towns, Mittal said while speaking at an industry event here, citing rising pressure on margins and increasing costs to have forced the operators to hike tariffs.

With the entry of new players and the ensuing tariff wars, the high priced bidding for 3G auctions, which saw top operators like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications coughing up Rs.12,295 crore and Rs.8,583 crore respectively, had led to margins being hammered.

Bharti had, in fact, paid an additional Rs.3,314 crore for acquiring broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum as well. Bharti’s move to hike call tariffs gave a break to the cut-throat competition among telecom operators offering dirt cheap tariffs.

While speaking on allocation of spectrum, Mittal said the government should be liberal and judicious.

He said the operators have paid far too much to obtain spectrum for offering third-generation mobile phone services.

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