BSNL Hikes 3G Tariffs, Will Others Follow Suit?

In a move that will hurt consumers who are looking for affordable 3G plans, BSNL, the state run 3G operator with the largest pan India presence (it is present in all the 3G circles barring Mumbai and New Delhi) has announced a hike in its tariff plans. The tariffs have been revised in accordance with the 43rd amendment of telecom tariff order issued by TRAI and the new tariffs will come into effect from 16 September, 2011, according to Telecom Talk.

Apart from increasing tariffs, BSNL has also done away with some of the old plans and introduced a few new ones. Once the new tariffs come into effect, the base rate and additional usage charge beyond free usage for BSNL (both post-paid and pre-paid) will increase from 2p/10kB (existing) to 4p/10kB (double the previous price).

Additionally, post paid plans of value Rs 89, Rs 189, Rs 1819 and Rs 2720 and prepaid Data RCV Rs 2000 have been removed as of now. The freebies that BSNL offered when a new connection was activated has also been reduced to 200MB (has to be used within 30 days of activation).

Although the price hike means bad news, it's not entirely unexpected. Due to the increasing operating costs, service providers have no choice other than increasing the tariffs in order to reduce debt that have accumulated due to the acquiring of 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum.

Moreover, with margins in voice calls coming under pressure, telecom call tariffs have increased over the past few weeks. Bharti Airtel was the first operator in the country to increase its tariff and Vodafone and Idea followed suit.

Although, the quality of 3G services rendered by telcos is not getting the best of reviews with consumers complaining of connection speed problems besides absence of seamless connectivity, don't be surprised if your service provider is next in line to increase 3G tariffs.