Higher revenues are what many expect for Bharti Airtel, which is investing $1 billion to upgrade its networks for 3G services. As always, the gamble is that offering the product to more customers, over a wider range, even if prices are higher, will boost buying.
The wider availability of 3G services, which arguably will boost demand also will be balanced by price hikes, which normally depresses demand.
Bharti Airtel has hiked mobile data prices for 2G and 3G services by 13 percent to 18 percent for its prepaid customers. The 3G charges for 1GB have been raised to Rs 299 against Rs 255 earlier valid for a period of 28 days.
Separately, Idea Cellular raised its own mobile data prices about 18 percent. Further, Bharti Airtel 2G charges for 1GB plans have been raised to Rs 199 compared with Rs 176 valid for a period of 28 days.
Idea and Airtel obviously are betting that underlying demand for mobile data services is robust enough that the price hikes will not dent demand, overall.
Nokia will be a major supplier for the 3G upgrades.