Bharti Airtel has announced sharp increase in GPRS/WAP tariffs – browsing through its mobile office service (GPRS/EDGE) will be charged at 30p/20KB w.e.f. Jan 5, 2011 versus 30p/50KB earlier (effectively a 150% hike), while browsing on its Live WAP portal will be charged at 30p/20KB w.e.f. Dec 28, 2010 versus free of charge earlier. Browsing on its Live WAP portal will be charged at 30p/20KB w.e.f. Dec 28, 2010 versus free of charge earlier.

However, the good news is that pricing of data packs (2 GB at Rs66- 98 for a month) remains unchanged [BroadbandIndia recommends users to go with this pack]. Good for Blackberry and other heavy e-mail users.

Bharti’s effective pay-as-you-go pricing was the cheapest in the market earlier and this could just be a market parity adjustment; nevertheless, a tariff increase does appear a bold move.

Finally, the date announced for the tariff revision is coincidently (or maybe not) very close to the possible 3G services launch by Bharti. Bharti possibly is trying to kill the substantial data pricing differential between 2G and 3G, thereby incentivizing (in a rather odd manner) its customers to try their 3G services and thereby drive rapid off-take.