There is good news for mobile subscribers. Leading operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular have started reducing tariffs to push mobile internet access.
At present, only about 9% of users regularly use 2G and 3G data services, while 4G services are available only in four cities.
In the last couple of months, pan-India operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have reduced mobile internet tariffs for 2G subscribers by up to 90% in some circles.
In 3G, RCom has slashed tariffs by about 50%, offering 1GB data download for Rs 123 in the 13 circles where it has spectrum, compared to Rs 250 earlier. “Others present in these circles are likely to follow suit if its 3G usage picks up,” said a senior executive at a rival telecom operator.
Bharti also slashed prices for its 4G services by about 30%.
"We expect more discounts for mobile internet services for 2G, 3G and 4G services in next few months," said the chief of a telecom operator.
“These companies want to bring down prices and build their customer base before Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) launches its 4G services,” said BK Syngal, former CMD of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani has already announced that he plans to offer 4G services at “affordable rates”. He plans to 4G services by the end of this financial year.
“The industry realized that a customer who used mobile internet services once, generally did not come for recharge as the services were costly,” said Rajan S Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).