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Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel raise tariffs as BSNL lags in 4G, 5G: Employees’ union

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In Short:

India’s major telecom operators, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, have raised tariffs due to BSNL’s inability to compete effectively without 4G and 5G services. The private telcos argue that the tariff hikes are to boost revenue and invest in 5G, but BSNLEU claims the hikes will hurt common people. BSNL has lost customers to Jio and Airtel, urging the government to allow access to Vi’s network for 4G services.

Telecom Operators Raise Tariffs Due to BSNL’s Inability to Compete

India’s top telecom operators, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, have increased their tariffs citing the inability of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to compete effectively. The absence of BSNL’s 4G and 5G mobile services has allowed private operators to raise tariffs arbitrarily, according to an employees’ union of the government-owned telecom PSU.

Impact of BSNL’s Inactivity

BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) highlighted in a letter to Union Telecom Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia that BSNL’s lack of 4G and 5G services has hindered its ability to compete with private operators, leading to unilateral tariff hikes by companies like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.

The union expressed concern over the tariff hikes, noting that these increases are expected to generate significant profits for private operators while adversely affecting consumers.

Private Operators’ Justification

While private telcos have defended the tariff hikes as necessary to boost average revenue per user (ARPU) and support investments in 5G technology, the union argued that such steep increases are unwarranted.

BSNL’s Losses and Recommendations

BSNLEU reiterated the impact of BSNL’s inactivity, noting a significant loss of customers to private operators due to the unavailability of high-speed data services. The union suggested that BSNL should be temporarily allowed to use Vi’s network to provide 4G services until its own network is upgraded.

The union appealed to the government to facilitate BSNL’s 4G launch and timely transition to 5G to protect consumers from the tariff hikes imposed by private telecom providers.

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