Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are expected to have added just half a million subscribers cumulatively in March, a sharp fall from the monthly average of up to 3 million additions in a good month, as the Covid-19 induced lockdowns take a toll.
“We are now in Day 8 of the 21-day national lockdown…this is a situation none of us have confronted before…our network operating centers and data centers continue to be operational to ensure smooth functioning of the network, and our field staff continue to be on the road to ensure speedy provisioning of new connections and timely fixing of faults,” Vittal said in a letter to Airtel customers.
The comments come on the back of an ET report which cited government officials as saying that mobile internet usage increase is not as high as what the telcos were claiming them to be. Telcos had sought additional airwaves to cater to the surge in demand.
Telcos could each take a 1-1.5% one-time hit on revenue if they waive call charges for migrant labourer users.
The list of relief measures includes a waiver on interest on loans for three months and on rentals during the lockdown period. The retailers also highlighted difficulties in paying salaries and emphasised the need for security in retail shops.
Some metropolitan cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru have already seen cellular network data consumption increase by 70 per cent since the lockdown began, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association(TAIPA) said.
The company said that it understands there are those who are unable to recharge JioPhones and need it the most despite providing alternative channels to recharge, such as UPI, ATM, SMS, Call, etc.
The telecom company announced recharge facility at the ATMs of some of the banks.
Bharti Airtel on Monday had announced an extension in the validity period of more than 8 crore pre-paid connections until April 17 as well as credited talk time of Rs 10 in these accounts. BSNL and MTNL too have announced they will extend validity period of their prepaid mobile services till April 20 and offered Rs 10 additional talktime even after zero balance, to enable users stay connected during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Telecom conglomerate Bharti Enterprises and its companies Bharti Airtel and Bharti Infratel, on Tuesday announced a contribution of Rs 100 crore for India's fight against COVID-19.
Bharti Airtel and state-run BSNL have extended the pre-paid pack validity for their low-ARPU customers, and given a talktime credit of Rs 10 to ensure continuous connectively during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has rejected telcos' call to hold open house discussions (OHD) on floor pricing of services through an online mechanism amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on March 30 informed that prepaid sims of BSNL will not be discontinued till April 20 amid nationwide lockdown and the user will get Rs 10 incentive for uninterrupted services. "Prepaid sims of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will not be discontinued till 20th April. For outgoing calls, a Rs 10 incentive has been provided automatically from today, so that poor people and needy people continue to work," said Prasad after TRAI asked telecom operators to extend validity period of prepaid users to get uninterrupted services during nationwide lockdown.
"Airtel has extended the pre-paid pack validity for over 80 million customers till April 17, 2020. All these customers will continue to get incoming calls on their Airtel mobile numbers even after the validity of their plan is exhausted," Airtel said in a statement. The benefits will be available to users in the next 48 hours, it said.
"This will enable poor people make calls for help even if they don't have any balance left," Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a tweet.
Telecom sector regulator Trai has asked telecom operators to extend the validity period of prepaid users to ensure that subscribers get uninterrupted services during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service