Despite tariff hikes by Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, charges still lower than US, UK: Centre

Indian telecom market is driven by demand and supply: Union communications ministry

Jio Airtel and Vodafone Idea Representational image

The Centre has slammed the opposition allegations and pointed out that the Indian telecom market is driven by demand and supply and offers one of the lowest tariffs in the world, even after three major private telcos – Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea – revised their rates.

This comes after the Congress slammed the government, questioning how the telecom operators were allowed to unilaterally raise the tariffs without any oversight or regulation.

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Dismissing the "misleading claims" by the Congress, the Union Ministry of Communications argued that over the past two decades, the rates of mobile services had been kept under forbearance by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Backed by a comparative chart of prevailing prices in the US, the UK, Russia, Australia and other countries, the ministry said Indian subscribers enjoy unlimited voice call and 18 GB data at an average price of $1.89 per month, which is cheaper than other markets.

ALSO READ: Tariff hike: Should you port to BSNL as Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea revise rates?

"With three private sector players and one public sector player, the current mobile services market operates through the market forces of demand and supply," said the ministry, pointing out that from a competition point of view, this was an optimal market structure.

The Centre said the tariffs are decided by market forces within the regulatory framework notified by the Trai and that the government does not intervene in the free market decisions.

The previous time the telcos revised their rates was two-and-a-half years ago in December 2021. The minstry said in the last two years, some of these telcos have invested heavily in 5G rollout across India, which helped the median mobile speed soaring to the level of 100 Mbps and the country's global rank leaping from 111 in October 2022 to 15 today.

Pointing out that the government is focusing on protecting the interests of subscribers, while also ensuring investments in the latest technologies like 5G, 6G, IoT/ M2M for Industry 4.0 etc, the Centre said these require financial viability, which is "important".

In a veiled reference to the 2G spectrum scam, the ministry said that 10 year ago, the telecom sector was mired in controversies and lacked transparency, resulting in stagnant growth of mobile services.

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