The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Launch booster for Reliance

New Delhi, Dec. 17: The Supreme Court’s decision allowing basic telephony operators to offer limited mobility comes as a shot in the arm for Big Daddy Reliance Infocom.

“We expect to get at least 6 lakh subscribers within a year through our limited mobility services,” a Reliance Infocom executive exulted after the court order.

Other basic operators like Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Tata Teleservices, which already offer WiLL services in some circles, are also gung-ho over the decision to allow limited mobility and remain unfazed by the court’s decision to lob the issue back to the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

Reliance Infocom is all set to roll out its limited mobility services in 328 cities in 18 telecom circles out of the total 28 on December 28, the birth anniversary of its founder Dhirubhai Ambani. The tariff of Rs 14,400 for unlimited usage (local calls only) that it plans to offer is certainly an intimidating package to all existing operators as well as mobile cellular operators.

However, both BSNL and the Tatas have promised to match the packages. While BSNL is yet to file its revised tariff package, communications ministry sources said “We can offer a more challenging package that will simply be irresistible. BSNL and MTNL had started the battle to offer limited mobility to increase teledensity; private operators have found commercial benefits in it and now we are ready to exploit the same.”

Currently, there are 90,92,154 WiLL mobile subscribers in the country, out of which the private service providers account for 8,97,154 subscribers.

BSNL has 75,000 WiLL subscribers in the country while MTNL has 40,000 subscribers in Delhi and Mumbai, the two cities where it offers this service.

Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTL) has already announced the launch of its limited mobility service in Delhi on Thursday and is set to launch it in Gujarat in the first part of next year. TTL has 88,952 subscribers in Andhra Pradesh, 2,068 subscribers in Karnataka and 1,452 subscribers in Tamil Nadu. HFCL in Punjab has bagged 34,365 subscribers and Shyam Telelink has about 27,783 subscribers.

Trai decision

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will take a final decision on review of basic services tariffs by mid-January, Trai chairman M. S. Verma said at an open house session on review of basic tariffs here, adds PTI.

During the session, Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) said the current rental of Rs 250 in urban areas should stay at that level and BSNL and MTNL should start implementing the commercial rental structure, which is Rs 310, so that private basic operators could follow suit. However, it sought lesser rentals for semi-urban and rural areas.

“For rural areas, the rental should be Rs 50 and for semi-urban areas it should be Rs 200 to boost usage and ensure affordability,” ABTO secretary general S. C. Khanna said.

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