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Airtel prepaid prices go up but it is Airtel postpaid and loyal users who still pay more

Airtel prepaid prices go up but it is Airtel postpaid and loyal users who still pay more

Despite the tariff hikes in prepaid mobile recharge plans, Airtel's postpaid users bear the brunt of paying bills every month with no option to look for alternatives like annual plans or plans with validities of longer duration.

Despite the tariff hike, Airtel prepaid users' annual expense on plans comes less than Airtel’s postpaid customers. (Picture: Reuters)
Despite the tariff hike, Airtel prepaid users' annual expense on plans comes less than Airtel’s postpaid customers. (Picture: Reuters)
Story highlights
  • Airtel on Monday announced tariff hikes for prepaid plans by up to Rs 500.
  • Despite the tariff hike, Airtel prepaid users' annual expense on plans comes less than Airtel’s postpaid customers.
  • Postpaid users, unlike prepaid users, do not have the option to subscribe to annual plans or even plans with 56 days or 84 days.

Monday saw a major development in the telecom industry for the year 2021. To improve its average revenue per user (ARPU), Airtel increased tariffs by 20-25 per cent on most of its prepaid plans, which will go into effect later this week from November 26. Airtel's base prepaid plan will start from Rs 99, and its most expensive annual prepaid plans will see a tariff hike of Rs 500. So the most expensive prepaid plan from Airtel will cost users Rs 2,999, a hike from the previous Rs 2,498.


But you will be surprised that the most basic postpaid plan from Airtel is priced at a monthly rental of Rs 399. This means that the annual expense for the most basic postpaid plan is Rs 4,788, excluding the taxes. So, despite the tariff hikes, the postpaid customers from Airtel pay a lot more for data.


While it is true that prepaid and postpaid are aimed at separate target audiences, prepaid plans, despite the tariff hikes, come out to be cheaper and more budget-friendly. What postpaid plans don't offer is the benefit of annual plans to users, or even validities that would last them for more than a month, like 56 days and 84 days. People subscribed to postpaid plans have to face their bills every month, with the data benefits not being at par with prepaid plans. Besides, the hassle of paying up every month with no option to look for alternatives with bigger validities makes it heavy on the pocket for postpaid users.


Even after the tariff hike, the most expensive annual plan from Airtel comes down to Rs 2,999 with benefits like unlimited calling, 100 SMS per day and 2GB daily data, with a 365-day validity. The plan's additional benefits include access to Amazon Prime Video Mobile Edition, Apollo 24 x 7 circles, free online courses from Shaw Academy, Rs 100 cashback from Fastag, free hello tunes, and access to Wynk Music.


If we take the most basic postpaid plan priced at Rs 399 from Airtel and calculate its annual total, it comes down to roughly Rs 4,788 (minus the taxes), with the plan giving 40GB monthly data, which comes down to a little over 1.3GB data per day. The additional benefits of this plan include access to Amazon Prime Video Mobile Edition, Apollo 24 x 7 circles, free online courses from Shaw Academy, Rs 100 cashback from Fastag, free hello tunes, and access to Wynk Music.


The difference comes out to be Rs 1,789 with taxes from the comparison made above. People can buy another annual prepaid plan under Rs 2,000 with this saved up money. Postpaid users have to pay almost double the price annually for way lesser benefits, while prepaid users still achieve their requirements and more under Rs 3,000. The most basic postpaid plan does not even give 2GB of daily data to users, which is almost a necessity nowadays for an everyday use case which could include some binge-watching.


When we reached out, Airtel refused to comment on the difference between postpaid and prepaid plans.


If we were to compare the Rs 499 postpaid plan from Airtel postpaid and the same plan in prepaid, the data benefits of the prepaid plan would outweigh that of the postpaid plan. The Rs 499 prepaid plan from Airtel gives 3GB daily data for 28 days. It also offers access to unlimited calls, 100 SMS per day, and mobile streaming benefits like Amazon Prime Video Mobile edition and Disney+ Hotstar mobile. On the other hand, the Rs 499 postpaid plan gives access to 75GB of data with unlimited calls and 100 SMS per day. The daily data for this plan comes out to be 2GB daily data, which is less than that of the prepaid plan priced at the same tariff.