File photo of Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship | Photo credit: Sandeep Saxena
Rising prices for data and devices are a concern for the rapid proliferation of digitalization, Minister of State for Electronics and Computing Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Wednesday.
The comments came amid a recent hike of around 57% in the minimum monthly top-up plan by the country’s second-largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel.
“Rising cost of data or cost of devices is of concern as these are barriers to rapid digitization,” Chandrasekhar said.
The minister said he was not exactly aware of Airtel’s mobile service price hike and that the ministry may contact telecoms regulator Trai to discuss whether the hike will have a short or long-term impact.
He said there had been an impact on pricing across the world due to the Russian-Ukrainian war and the impact of data pricing needed to be looked at.
Bharti Airtel has raised the price of its minimum recharge for 28-day mobile service plan by around 57% to ₹155 in eight circles including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and West Uttar Pradesh .
The company stopped its minimum top-up plan of ₹99, under which it offered 200 megabytes of data and calls at the rate of ₹2.5 paise per second. In Haryana and Odisha, Airtel has now started offering the ₹155 package with unlimited calls, 1GB data and 300 texts.