New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, the country's biggest telecom company by subscribers, today announced 20 percent increase in pre-paid tariff rates of its 'Advantage' and 'Freedom' pack for calls and SMSes sent within Airtel network.

User of advantage pack, which is based on per minute billing, will now have to pay 60 paise instead of 50 per minute for local and STD calls and 90 paise for calls to landlines.

Further, Re 1 and Rs 1.5 will be charged for local and national SMSes, respectively. Existing users will have to pay for new rates after the validity of their existing voucher ends.

Similarly, the users of per second billing-based Freedom pack will be charged 1.2 paise for local and STD calls on mobile.
The new tariff structure has been announced for Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh telecom circle.

However, Airtel has not changed tariff of rack rates, which means customer not opting for advantage and freedom pack will have to pay the old rates of Re 1 for local and Rs 1.5 for STD calls.

"Telecom is probably the only industry where despite increasing inflation, tariffs have been falling unabatedly. Continuosly declining margins, high 3G and BWA auction prices, constrained spectrum and rural roll out aspirations leave us with little choice but to make some price corrections," Airtel spokesperson said.

As per a recent TRAI report, Airtel had in May 2011 over 16.7 crore mobile phone customers, which makes for 19.88 percent share of the market.

The company shares today closed 3.99 percent higher at Rs 410.95 on the BSE.