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Bonanza for phone users

New Delhi, April 30: Incoming calls become free across all telecom networks — cellular, limited mobility and fixed line — from tomorrow (May 1) as the new interconnection user charge regime (IUC) regime comes into force.

Telecom regulator Trai said today that cellular and limited mobile operators could offer tariff packages of their choice provided they are not discriminatory or carry a hint of predatory pricing.

Reliance Infocomm and Tata Teleservices — the two limited mobility players — were the first off the blocks announcing a slew of tariff packages that were designed to attract customers.

Reliance, which had created a stir in January by offering a call rate of 40 paise per minute on calls made within its network, sprang the biggest surprise by extending the benefit to rival limited mobility networks.

There is, however, a rider: the call rate will be applicable for the first 400 minutes.

Trai chairman Pradeep Baijal said, “We received the tariff plans very late from the cellular and limited mobile operators; we need time to vet it. We expect to examine the tariff plans by May 31. All tariffs to be implemented after May 31 should have the prior approval of the authority.”

The initial Reliance offer had fallen foul of Trai’s guidelines since it was discriminatory. By offering the same rate for calls to rival networks, Reliance has been able to salvage its “big bait offer” to subscribers.

A Reliance statement said these tariffs have been filed with Trai and are subject to approval by the regulator.

Reliance, which failed to get its service off the ground after its soft launch in December, begins its commercial launch tomorrow in 92 cities with a tariff package that reduces entry costs to just Rs 3,350 with no post-dated cheques required.

The new package offers free SMS on any network anywhere in India, a choice of handsets, and seeks no deposits for STD and ISD. Its also offers existing customers the option to migrate to an offer that best suits them.

Above 400 minutes, local and intra circle (irrespective of distance) and inter-circle calls up to 50 km will also cost 40 paise. Inter-circle calls made over and above the first 400 minutes and over 50 km will be charged at Rs 1.90 per minute.

In the case of calls made from Reliance IndiaMobile to any cellular network, the tariffs will be charged at Rs 1.20 per minute up to 50 kms for local, intra-circle and inter-circle calls irrespective of distance.

For a call made from the Reliance IndiaMobile network to the fixed line network, the tariffs will be Re 1 per minute for local, inter and intra-circle calls up to 50 km. It will charge Rs 1.90 per minute for both intra-circle calls above 50 kms and inter-circle calls within 50-200 kms range.

Tata tariff offer

Tata Teleservices today announced four “Super Saver” tariffs for its limited mobile and fixed line services being marketed under the Tata Indicom brand. In all its limited mobile tariff plans, the pulse rate for a limited mobile phone to GSM cellular call would be of one minute duration, whereas for a limited mobile to limited mobile call and limited mobile call to fixed call, the pulse would be of 15 seconds duration.

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