Bharti Airtel recently increased its entry-level tariffs in three Indian circles: Gujarat, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. As a result, the Rs. 99 prepaid plan has been discontinued, leaving the Rs. 155 plan as the sole entry-level recharge option available across all 22 Indian circles. This effectively represents a 56% increase in tariffs across India. The tariff increase was first implemented in two circles in November 2022, and it has since been rolled out to all circles across the country in just five months.
The Rs. 155 prepaid recharge plan from Bharti Airtel provides users with unlimited voice calling benefits, 1 GB of data, and 300 SMS, all of which are valid for a period of 24 days. Along with these features, users can also enjoy additional benefits like Wynk Music and Free Hellotunes.
Although this is a positive development, the impact on Bharti’s financials is expected to be minimal. Morgan Stanley estimates that the increase will contribute approximately 1.3-1.5 percent to Bharti’s mobile business revenue in India, assuming all other factors remain constant across the country. Morgan Stanley believes that the possibility of raising tariffs for 4G services (expected in 2024 in their base scenario) and achieving significant market share gains through the rapid implementation of the 5G network will be the primary drivers of the company’s stock price.
Airtel has made significant strides in its 5G offerings, with its 5G Plus service now available in over 265 cities across India. By March 2024, the company hopes to have covered the majority of the country.
According to Randeep Sekhon, Bharti Airtel’s Chief Technology Officer, the company’s plans to deploy 5G services are on track, and they expect to cover all towns and significant rural areas by March 2024.