India remains one of the toughest markets in which to turn a profit, as telcos grapple with wafer thin margins and the rising Capex demands of 5G

Indian telco, Bharti Airtel, is set to scrap its lowest price tariffs in an attempt to boost its average return per user (ARPU), according to reports in the Indian press.

A report in the Business Standard claims that Airtel is proposing to discontinue all plans under Rs 499 ($7.08) per month, in an attempt to boost its margins.

Since India’s disruptive operator, Reliance Jio, launched a raft of ultra-low cost 4G data tariffs and handsets in 2016, India’s telecoms market place has been consumed by a race to deliver ever cheaper packages.

Airtel now appears to have drawn a line in the sand, refusing to compete for subscribers in the lower end of the post-paid market. In real terms, this means that Airtel will be discontinuing its Rs 299, RS 349 and RS 399 plans.

Bharti Airtel has delayed releasing its full year figures for the 2018/19 financial year until it completes its rights issue. However, figures published for the third quarter of 2018/19 showed that Airtel’s ARPU in India stood at just RS 104 ($1.47).  

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