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Mobile operators cut freebies to push profit margins

Mumbai,Nov 22 () : Mobile operators across the country have cut free talk time on prepaid discount vouchers.

96% of the revenue comes from prepaid subscribers for all mobile operators and with a drop in subscriber base due to portability and termination of dormant connections,mobile operators have decided to cut down on freebies and not increase call rates unlike last year.

The combined subscriber base of all mobile operators in India is estimated to be 906 million plus. The most popular and revenue earner is the special tariff coupons sold by mobile operators. This is heavily patronized by pre-paid subscribers. The revenue from the sale of these coupons account for 70% of the mobile phone operators.

With subscriber base not showing any increase and to manage the rising costs, mobile operators for the past two weeks have made changes to the special vouchers without any announcements.

Bharti Airtel, the market leader in mobile operations, has a coupon available for as less as Rs 28 and with call rates at 12 paise per second for national STD. It was earlier valid for three months from the date of purchase. This has been reduced to two months.

Aditya Birla owned Idea Cellular which has a strong base in Maharashtra had a coupon for Rs 72 which has call rate of Rs 1.2 paisa per second and valid for three months. Idea maintained all the call rates and validity period but increased the price by Rs 25 .

Mobile operators are not going in for a pan Indian change in tariffs and are more dictated by their strong base.

Vodafone dominant in Kolkata circle has tweaked the popular minutes pack with a validity of five days offering 65 minutes costing Rs 22. It has reduced the number of free minutes to 55.

Tata Teleservices DoCoMo has a STD seconds pack in Karnataka circle that offers 36000 seconds for Rs 196 valid for 30 days. It reduced the free seconds limit by 3000 seconds from the previous figure.

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