Idea Cellular has hiked mobile data rates by up to 100 per cent for pre-paid customers in the NCR region, becoming the first telecom operator to raise the tariff after Rs 1.1 lakh crore spectrum auction in March. The country's third largest telco has doubled the price for some 2G plans, while 3G will be costlier by about 33 per cent.
Idea was successful in securing spectrum in nine telecom circles where its licences came up for renewal. The company was top bidder in the auction with total commitment of about Rs 30,300 crore. Idea MD & CEO Himanshu Kapania had earlier said that post auction, there would be pressure on data prices, and tariff hike across circles may be necessary. As per the new rates, customers will now get only 1.5 GB of 2G mobile internet data for Rs 255 against 3 GB offered to them earlier at the same price.
The company has made changes in most of recharge vouchers for 2G and 3G services. Idea has reduced 3G mobile internet limit in its scheme offered for Rs 755. Its customers will get only 3 GB of mobile data for Rs 755 against 4 GB offered earlier, making this pack expensive by about 33 per cent. Also, 1 GB, 3G pack with a validity of 28 days will now cost Rs 295 against Rs 249 earlier, while a 1 GB, 2G data pack will now come for Rs 195 with 28 days validity as against Rs 175 earlier. The company has also reduced validity of various packs.
For instance, customers will now get a validity of 7 days with a recharge of Rs 247 for 1 GB, while earlier it used to cost Rs 249 with 28 days validity. Idea customers will have to pay 27.5 per cent more for 500 MB pack on 2G network. They will be charged Rs 125 for this pack compared to Rs 98 that they paid earlier.
The company has also removed 3 GB plan on its 2G network. In a bid to improve profitability, telecos have been cutting-back on discounts and freebies. Last year also, firms including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had increased data as well as call tariffs. After the March spectrum auction, industry associations had said there would be hike in tariffs as operators have to meet commitment to the government.