In an attempt to tide over the crisis in telecom sector, incumbent operators Vodafone Idea (VIL) and Bharti Airtel hiked mobile tariffs by up to 42 per cent, effective December 3.

VIL, which posted its highest-ever net loss for a corporate in the country, hiked mobile tariffs by an average 20-30 per cent for its pre-paid services. In certain data schemes, the tariff increases were as high as 42 per cent.

The company has launched 16 new plans with various validities (2, 28, 84 and 365 days) and prices (ranging from Rs 49 to Rs 2,399), in an attempt to mitigate losses from Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) payout.

Earlier on November 18, Vodafone Idea had stated “acute financial stress” in the sector that required it to hike tariffs from December.

For the second quarter ended September 30, VIL posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 50,921.9 crore, impacted mainly by AGR provisions, the highest-ever for a corporate in India. For the comparable year-ago quarter, the country’s second-largest company by subscribers posted a net loss of Rs 4,973.8 crore.

VIL had provisioned Rs 25,677.9 crore for AGR payments, which is estimated to be about Rs 44,150 crore. This includes an estimated license fee of Rs 27,610 crore and Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) of Rs 16,540 crore (with penalty and interest) for up to September 30.

Read the story: Airtel, Vodafone Idea to hike tariffs to hike tariffs from December 1

Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel also hiked tariffs by up to 42 per cent, with effect from December 3, by launching a slew of new schemes.

Airtel’s new plans represent tariff increases in the range of 50 paise per day to Rs 2.85 per day and offer generous data and calling benefits, the company said in a statement.

Shashwat Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer at Bharti Airtel said: “Our new mobile plans offer tremendous value to our customers and are backed by a superior network experience on Airtel’s nationwide 4G network. Airtel will continue to make large investments in emerging technologies and digital platforms to deliver world-class experiences to our customers”.

India has a mobile user base of 1.17 billion (TRAI September figures), of which nearly 98 per cent of the subscribers are on pre-paid tariffs.

Read:Bharti Airtel seeks to raise $3 billion to fund AGR dues

Reliance Jio

On its part, Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) has launched new all-in-one plans, effectively increasing tariffs by upto 40 per cent. The hike is effective December 6, RJio said in a statement.

The plans would provide 300 per cent more benefits to users, it said, without providing specifics of the plans.

RJio will continue to work with the Government on the consultation process for revision of telecom tariffs and looks forward to participation from all other stakeholders, it added.

According to industry experts, operators had to increase tariffs so as increase ARPUs by at least 25 per cent to tide over the present crisis.