Need to hike rates to cover higher costs: Voda Idea

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NEW DELHI: Vodafone Idea, the country’s third-biggest mobile operator, has said that mobile tariffs have become “unsustainable” and need to be raised immediately to factor in higher costs even as the debt-laden telco said it would seek shareholders’ approval to increase borrowing limit to Rs 1 lakh crore against the Rs 25,000 crore fixed earlier.
As it looks at rebooting its struggling India operations after the Supreme Court allowed a 10-year payment period for AGR dues, the loss-making Vodafone Idea on Monday announced a new branding for its business, while also talking about fund-raising plans to back its revival and debt retirement plans.
“Tariffs in the market are unsustainable… it’s very important to get the industry back to healthy levels,” Ravinder Takkar, MD and CEO of Vodafone Idea, said as he unveiled the new branding called ‘Vi’, which is supposed to lead an image makeover for the company that is fast losing customers and faces tough financial decisions.
“Vi’s focus will be to deliver … a superior network experience, better customer service and leading products and services,” Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said, while Indian partner Kumar Mangalam Birla said the new branding will “energise” customers, employees and partners. However, mammoth challenges remain in front of the company as it fights with a very strong Reliance Jio and traditional rival Bharti Airtel.
Citing massive growth in data and voice usage over the past years and some of the lowest tariffs in the world, Takkar said consumer plans must go up in the short term.



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