Bengaluru: It’s a move that is likely to pinch the pockets of most people in the country and especially be hard on the poor. For the first time in over a decade, private mobile phone service providers have decided to raise their tariff in the country, where using a mobile phone has been cheap until now, helping almost anyone to have access to it both in rural and urban areas.
But now companies like Bharati Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Reliance Jio have decided to raise their tariff, claiming they have no option if they are to continue providing an efficient service and deal with the competition by investing in advanced technologies.
They also claim to be hamstrung by debts and losses, and point out that they have not raised their tariffs for over a decade. The people are expectedly taken aback, but the move has received a mixed reception. Deccan Chronicle listened in as a few people aired their views on the subject. Mr Priyadarshan, a private company employee, surprisingly, supported the rise in tariff, saying it would help the companies provide a better and more efficient service.
“Look at the way these private companies are performing today. Half the time, we have no proper network and call drops have become a major problem. While the country is planning to go digital, it lacks the basic infrastructure.
For example, when I try to carry out a transaction by using a payment app, I find there is no network and need to keep trying till I connect. At least by charging more, the companies, which claim to be in loss, can make some profit and provide a better service,” he said.
Mr Ranjeeth, a businessman, however, did not buy this argument and strongly hit out at the government and private companies for trying to burn a hole in the common man’s pocket. “The government has already ruined BSNL by giving away all its contracts to private mobile phone service providers. Now BSNL is on the verge of shutting down. This hike in tariff is just an eyewash to make consumers believe that they are really under loss,” he contended.
“If these companies are really under loss, how can they carry out projects, which are being diverted to them by the government? All the projects meant for BSNL have been given away to these private companies and they claim to be in severe debt. Now they want a price hike for reasons of their own,” he fumed.
Consumers like him may have reason to complain, but when it comes to the crunch, they have no option but to accept the inevitable. Whether the poor will pay the heaviest price remains to be seen....