Airtel subscribers may have to pay a lot more for data in the coming months as the company is looking at tariff hikes. Airtel Founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said (Airtel) subscribers should be prepared to pay a lot more.

“You either consume 1.6GB of capacity per month either at this price point or you may prepare to pay a lot more. We don’t want $50-60 (roughly Rs 3,700 Rs 4,400) like the US or Europe but certainly $2 (roughly Rs 160) for 16GB a month is not sustainable,” Mittal said at the book launch of his colleague Akhil Gupta, as per reports.

This could mean that Airtel customers will have to pay Rs 100 per GB in the near future as against 10 rupees which is the current price if Mittal’s example is to be taken reference. Mittal said 16GB data consumption for Rs 160 is a tragedy. As of now, Airtel offers 1GB daily data at a prepaid price of Rs 199 for 24 days. After the potential hike, users will get only 2.4GB data for the entire validity at the same price.

Mittal also said that Airtel users will have to pay at least Rs 100, even if it is for the base price. Currently Airtel’s base plans are priced at Rs 45 which means there will be a 100 per cent increase where Airtel’s base tariffs are concerned.

He also stated that the average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to cross Rs 200 in the next six months.

“You should see solid ARPUs building up in the next 5-6 for months for industry to be sustainable. In six month time we should be crossing the mark of Rs 200 for sure and Rs 250 would be ideal,” Mittal said.

“We need a Rs 300 ARPU in which you will still have lower end at Rs 100 a month with decent amount of data. But if your consumption is largely around watching TV, movies, entertainment and depriving other vital special services networks, then you need to pay for that,” Mittal said.

Mittal said that while telecom operators have served the nation during the difficult times, the industry needs to invest in 5G, more optical fibres, submarine cables etc.

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