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Telecom giants Jio, Airtel to hike 5G data price amid nationwide rollout

Airtel and Jio are providing 5G services at the same cost as their 4G offerings, and they have incorporated unlimited 5G data in some of their plans.

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Jan 14, 2024, 01:29 PM IST

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jio

Story Highlights

  • India saw the introduction of 5G services in October 2022.
  • Reliance Jio and Airtel are the first to provide these services.
  • These companies may soon cease their unlimited 5G offerings.

In October 2022, India saw the introduction of 5G services, with leading telecom operators Reliance Jio and Airtel being the first to provide these services to their customers. Together, they have amassed over 125 million 5G subscribers. The telecom giants have been offering 5G connectivity at the same rates as 4G and have included unlimited 5G data in certain plans. However, it is now speculated that these companies may soon cease their unlimited 5G offerings and are likely to raise the charges for 5G plans above the current 4G plans.

According to a report in the Economic Times, analysts predict that Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel will discontinue their unlimited 5G data plans and start charging 5-10 percent more for 5G services than 4G, starting in the latter half of 2024, to stimulate revenue growth and monetisation.

For nearly a year, Jio and Airtel have been enticing existing subscribers to upgrade to the next-generation wireless broadband service by providing 5G connectivity at 4G rates, along with unlimited data plans. However, this strategy is expected to change soon as Jio and Airtel gear up to roll out 5G services nationwide and focus on monetisation as adoption rates increase. It’s worth noting that the number of 5G users in India is projected to surpass 200 million by the end of 2024.

The report further suggests that industry experts anticipate the two telecom firms will hike mobile charges by at least 20 percent in the third quarter of 2024 to boost their RoCE (return on capital employed), while also addressing the increased costs of 5G investments and customer acquisition.

While the proposed 5G plans of Airtel and Jio are expected to be 5-10 percent costlier than the 4G ones, the network providers might include 30-40 percent more data in these packages to encourage usage. This could also enhance their market share, especially since Vodafone Idea (Vi), another top telecom operator, has not yet launched 5G services in the country.

Meanwhile, in 2023, the number of transactions via Unified Payments Interface (UPI) exceeded 100 billion, with the precise count nearing 118 billion. This represented a growth of 60 percent in comparison to the previous year. To put it in perspective, the total UPI transactions in 2022 were around 74 billion.

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Author Name | Om Gupta

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