Modi government refutes congress claims on mobile service rate hike


New Delhi : The Indian government has recently addressed the Congress’ allegations regarding the increased cost of mobile services. The government refuted these claims, stating that the Indian mobile service market is primarily influenced by demand and supply dynamics involving three private telecom companies and one public sector entity.

Government Dismisses Misleading Claims

In a detailed statement, the Union Communications Ministry emphasized that the allegations made by Congress are misleading. The Ministry clarified that the rates for mobile services in India are among the lowest globally, thanks to the regulatory policies implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Over the past two decades, TRAI’s oversight has ensured that Indian consumers enjoy some of the most affordable mobile service rates in the world.

Mobile Charges: Lowest in India

The Ministry provided comparative data to highlight the affordability of mobile services in India. According to the statement, Indian mobile users benefit from virtually unlimited voice calls and 18 GB of data for an average price of $1.89 per month. This rate is significantly lower compared to those in countries like the US, Australia, UK, and Russia. The government underscored that these low rates are a direct result of the policies and regulatory frameworks set by TRAI, designed to benefit consumers.

Market-Driven Rates Under TRAI’s Regulation

The Union Communications Ministry reiterated that the telecom service rates in India are determined by market forces, within a regulatory framework set by TRAI. This independent body ensures that rates remain fair and competitive, without direct government intervention. The Ministry stated, “The rates of telecom services are determined by market forces, which are within the regulatory framework notified by the independent regulator i.e., TRAI. The government does not interfere in the decisions of the free market.”

Investment in 5G and Its Impact on Rates

One of the key reasons for the recent hike in mobile service rates is the heavy investment by telecom companies in 5G infrastructure. Over the past two years, several telecom service providers have channeled substantial resources into launching 5G services across India. This investment has significantly enhanced the average mobile internet speed, which now stands at an impressive 100 Mbps. As a result, India’s international ranking in terms of mobile internet speed has soared from 111th in October 2022 to 15th today.

Ensuring Sector Viability and Consumer Protection

The government highlighted the importance of maintaining the financial viability of the telecom sector. Sustained investments in cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, 6G, IoT, and M2M for Industry 4.0 are crucial for the sector’s growth. The Ministry emphasized that these investments not only improve service quality but also ensure that the sector remains competitive and innovative. Protecting consumer interests while fostering an environment conducive to technological advancement is a delicate balance that the government and TRAI strive to maintain.

Comparative Analysis of Global Mobile Rates

To further elucidate the cost advantage enjoyed by Indian consumers, the Ministry released a comparative analysis of mobile service rates across different countries. The chart demonstrated that while Indian users pay approximately $1.89 per month for comprehensive mobile services, the rates in the US, UK, Australia, and Russia are substantially higher. This comparison underscores the effectiveness of India’s regulatory framework and market-driven approach in keeping mobile service costs exceptionally low.

TRAI’s Role in Maintaining Competitive Rates

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has played a pivotal role in maintaining competitive rates for mobile services in India. By setting regulations that encourage fair competition among telecom operators, TRAI ensures that consumers have access to high-quality services at affordable prices. The regulatory body’s efforts have been instrumental in positioning India as a global leader in low-cost mobile services.

Government’s Commitment to Consumer Interests

Despite the recent rate hike, the government reaffirmed its commitment to safeguarding consumer interests. The Ministry assured that the regulatory framework established by TRAI would continue to ensure that mobile service rates remain affordable. The government also highlighted ongoing initiatives to improve service quality and expand network coverage, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

Future Prospects for India’s Telecom Sector

Looking ahead, the Indian telecom sector is poised for significant growth and transformation. The rollout of 5G services marks the beginning of a new era in connectivity, with faster speeds and more reliable networks. The government is also exploring opportunities in 6G and IoT technologies, which promise to revolutionize industries and enhance everyday life for consumers.

A Balanced Approach to Telecom Regulation

In conclusion, the government’s response to Congress’ claims about the recent increase in mobile service rates underscores its commitment to a balanced approach. By allowing market forces to dictate rates within a robust regulatory framework, the government ensures that consumers benefit from competitive pricing while encouraging investment in new technologies. The Union Communications Ministry’s detailed statement highlights the success of India’s telecom policies in delivering world-class services at the lowest rates globally.


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