Airtel and Vodafone hike 2G data tariff…

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Leading telcos Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India have nearly doubled the price of 2G mobile data services by slashing the one gigabyte (1GB) offer provided for Rs. 155 earlier to 512 megabytes (MB) at the same tariff-data availability has been reduced by nearly half for smartphone users.

This is the second increase in tariffs this year. An Airtel official said, “We did this sometime back in a few circles. Other telcos like Vodafone have also followed suit. Many of our prepaid customers may have now received our revised 2G data plan after they have exhausted their discounts and freebies offered for 2G data.”

An official of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said, “Cash-strapped telcos have adopted a strategy to propel first-time smartphone users to use 3G and push their existing 2G data users to experience faster speed on 3G. Clearly, the move is to pull out all the stops to cover costs and improve margins.”

An official with a leading telecom company admitted that none of the operators have been able to increase 3G penetration as smartphone users have largely stuck to 2G data services.

While the number of smartphone users has gone up by 205 per cent in a year, leading telcos have seen less than eight percent growth in 3G data services.

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