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The tussle goes on

New Delhi, Feb. 4: Basic operators today urged the telecom regulator not to allow the cellular players levy a fee of 50 paise for free incoming calls from WiLL (wireless in local loop) and fixed line phones and also pleaded for a reconsideration of access fee levied on the basic operators.

The Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) has written a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) urging the regulator to step in and seek a clarification from the cellular industry that is now voicing its opposition to the Trai stipulations regarding free of charge incoming calls.

“Opposition from cellular operators is unreasonable and is difficult to understand. Having procured all the benefits that they had demanded (including reduction in access fee and grant of mobile terminating charge, the cellular industry appears to be reneging on its promises and assurances to the general public that it would offer all incoming calls free of charge,” said ABTO secretary general S. C. Khanna.

In a letter written to Trai, the basic operators have pointed out that since 1998, when they first raised the demand for the introduction of calling party pays (CPP) regime, the cellular service providers have mounted intense pressure on the regulator to give its approval.

The cellular operators have been forced to reduce prices because of competition and their growth has been 100 per cent year-on-year. Therefore, there exists no basis for introducing CPP, the letter said.

Idea joins rate war

Idea Cellular today joined the rate war by announcing a 43 per cent cut in airtime charges for post-paid customers and reducing the airtime of pre paid call cost by 40 paise. The company offers services in Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) and Delhi.

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