Pvt telecom Idea hikes mobile data rates by up to 100%
Idea Cellular has hiked mobile data rates by up to 100 per cent for pre-paid customers in the NCR region, becoming the first telecom operator to raise the tariff after Rs 1.1 lakh crore spectrum auction in March.
The country’s third largest telco has doubled the price for some 2G <g data-gr-id="29">plans,</g> while 3G will be costlier by about 33 <g data-gr-id="28">per cent</g>. The new rates came into effect from June 3. According to industry sources, the company also plans to increase the data tariffs in more circles in the coming days. A company spokesperson did not reply to queries in this regard.
<g data-gr-id="50">Idea</g> is the first telecom operator that has increased data tariffs after the March spectrum auction in which government received bids worth Rs 1.1 lakh crore. <g data-gr-id="49">Idea</g> was successful in securing spectrum in nine telecom circles where its licences came up for renewal. The company was <g data-gr-id="47">top</g> bidder in the auction with <g data-gr-id="48">total</g> commitment of about Rs 30,300 crore. Idea MD & CEO Himanshu <g data-gr-id="46">Kapania</g> had earlier said that post auction, there would be pressure on data prices, and tariff hike across circles may be necessary. As per the new rates, customers will now get only 1.5 GB of 2G mobile internet data for Rs 255 against 3 GB offered to them earlier at the same price.
The company has made changes in most of recharge vouchers for 2G and 3G services. <g data-gr-id="40">Idea</g> has reduced 3G mobile internet limit in its scheme offered for Rs 755. Its customers will get only 3 GB of mobile data for Rs 755 against 4 GB offered earlier, making this pack expensive by about 33 <g data-gr-id="41">per cent</g>. Also, 1 GB, 3G pack with a validity of 28 days will now cost Rs 295 against Rs 249 earlier, while a 1 GB, 2G data pack will now come for Rs 195 with 28 days validity as against Rs 175 earlier. The company has also reduced <g data-gr-id="38">validity</g> of various packs.
For instance, customers will now get a validity of 7 days with a recharge of Rs 247 for 1 <g data-gr-id="42">GB,</g> while earlier it used to cost Rs 249 with 28 days validity. Idea customers will have to pay 27.5 <g data-gr-id="43">per cent</g> more for 500 MB pack on 2G network. They will be charged Rs 125 for this pack compared to Rs 98 that they paid earlier. The company has also removed 3 GB plan on its 2G network. In a bid to improve profitability, <g data-gr-id="44">telecos</g> have been <g data-gr-id="45">cutting-back</g> on discounts and freebies. Last year also, firms including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had increased data as well as call tariffs.
Airtel raises $1 bn through issuance of bonds
Bharti Airtel today said it has raised $1 billion through <g data-gr-id="99">issuance</g> of 10-year bonds to international investors. The proceeds will be used for capital expenditure. “...it has successfully priced an issuance of $1,000 million 4.375 <g data-gr-id="95">per cent</g> senior notes due 2025,” Airtel said in a statement. The company said $notes have been priced at 210 basis points over 10-year $treasury with a fixed coupon of 4.375 per cent per annum to yield 4.462 per cent. “Total order book of $2 <g data-gr-id="97">billion ?</g> subscribed 2.0X with participation from 160 quality accounts. 80 <g data-gr-id="96">per cent</g> allocation to mutual funds and insurance companies, with <g data-gr-id="94">balance</g> to banks,” the country’s largest telecom firm said.
The company said 66 <g data-gr-id="116">per cent</g> of bonds are allocated to the US investors, 18 per cent to Europe and 16 per cent to Asia investors. “With 66 per cent bonds allocated to the US investors, this is the highest ever allocation to US investors in any Indian deal, demonstrating the strong investor base Bharti has created for itself in developed markets allowing it to efficiently raise capital from world?s leading fixed income investors,” the company said. This fund raising marks the first major bond sale by a domestic private sector corporate in the fiscal. Last year, the company had hit the forex debt market thrice raising more than $2.5 billion.
“With bond issuances of close to $6 billion outstanding post this issue, Bharti now has a well-established credit curve across tenure buckets and currencies,” Bharti Airtel Group Treasurer Harjeet Kohli said. He added these, along with the availability under our long dated ECB terms signed recently with Chinese banks (CDB and ICBC), significantly elongate the tenor of its financing as also helps larger cash flows at hand. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers along with DBS Bank as the Co-Manager for this offering.