RComm to raise mobile call tariff by up to 20 percent

NEW DELHI Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:45pm IST

A customer leaves a Reliance communication store in Ahmedabad January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Amit Dave

A customer leaves a Reliance communication store in Ahmedabad January 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Reliance Communications Ltd (RLCM.NS), India's fourth-biggest mobile phone carrier, will hike voice prices starting April 25, the company said in a statement, to counter an increase in input costs and higher spectrum payments.

Reliance will increase tariffs on discounted and promotional plans for its pre-paid customers by up to 20 percent and raise headline call tariffs to 1.6 paise every second from 1.5 paise, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Reliance and its main rivals, including Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS), India's top phone carrier, and the local unit of Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L), last year raised voice prices for the first time in three years as they continued to cut discounts previously offered to lure customers in a highly-competitive market.

Carriers have seen the benefits of reduced competition after several smaller rivals were forced by a court order to either shut down or scale back operations.

"We continue to focus on growing profitable/paid minutes on our network and the current tariff hikes are part of our continued efforts to reduce free and discounted minutes, and offset the ever-rising costs of input materials," the company's chief executive officer, Gurdeep Singh, said in the statement.

Indian carriers receive more than 80 percent of their revenue from voice call services.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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