The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cells buzz with STD rate hike

New Delhi, Dec. 4: The cellular mobile operators are likely to announce a marginal drop in local call rates but an increase in STD and ISD rates.

AirTel, the leading mobile operator, using global system for mobile communications (GSM), has indicated that the local call tariff will fall further with increased competition and increased volumes. However, STD and ISD call rates will rise because of the access deficit charges (ADC) that have been imposed on the operators.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and group managing director of Bharti Group, said, “The industry will cut tariffs by 10-20 paise for local calls due to the competition and the volumes in GSM service that has been witnessed by the industry. But, with ADC in place, there will be a marginal hike in the STD/ISD rates.”

Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on spectrum, Mittal said: “This is a trend that will be followed by most of the operators. The prices cannot go up in local call rates; it can only go down. This may also happen in STD/ISD rates if the ADC charges can be absorbed, but that will be difficult.”

Stressing the need for an increase in spectrum allocation to telecom operators, Mittal said that the government and regulator can at least offer additional spectrum in hotspots where there is an immediate need. He pointed that only 10-12 towns and cities in the country need additional spectrum and not the whole state.

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