Mobile tariff to go up if spectrum is charged: Airtel
BARCELONA: Indian mobile phone users will have to pay more if the service providers are charged for spectrum, which was earlier given free to the operators, Chairman of the country's largest telecom company Bharti Airtel has said.
"We have been offering services with lower tariffs when we have not been charged for spectrum. Going ahead, if it (spectrum) will be charged, we will also have to charge the customer," Mittal told PTI.
Old operators have been contesting the proposed one-time charge for the extra spectrum held with them.
He was here for the annual global telecommunications event -- Mobile World Congress -- which concluded yesterday.
Most of the mobile operators including Bharti Airtel, have already raised user charges by about 20 per cent in the wake of rising cost of operation and cut-throat competition.
Mittal said while the industry is for providing affordable service, its own interest must also be safeguarded.
"We will favour affordable service which should be viable for industry... Who will gain if our business is shut down?... This has to be balanced," he said.
The government proposes to delink allocation of airwaves from licences in the New Telecom Policy (NTP), which is expected to be unveiled next month.
The existing operators were given spectrum bundled with licences, which only were charged.
The Bharti chief said India's telecom tariffs are still among the cheapest in the world -- even lower than Africa.
"(Tariffs in India) are still best in the world. Rates in Africa are 7 cents which is Rs 3.5 per minute," Mittal said.
- Times Of India