The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tariff battle set to hot up

New Delhi, Dec. 27: Cellular operators—who have been battling basic telephony operators in courts of law over the introduction of a limited mobility service—are preparing to bite the bullet and match the low tariffs announced today by Reliance Infocomm.

Cellular operators are still trying to assess the revenue implications if they match the tariffs announced by Reliance, but say they have few options to retain their fickle, price-conscious customers.

Asked if the tariff package announced by Reliance Infocomm has set the ground rules of engagement for cheap telecom services, they said, “In the absence of a level playing field, such tariffs can be offered by anyone.”

“The cellular industry is bleeding and will continue to do so. Losses have gone up by Rs 800 crore in the past year. Since we will have to bring down costs further to match the new tariffs, the losses are expected to mount,” said T.V. Ramachandran, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

The tariff battle is likely to hot up further with other limited mobility service providers like Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, Tata Teleservices, Shyam Telecom, Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd also planning to take a relook at their tariff structures.

“We have already sought Trai’s approval for offering SMS and other value added service and are awaiting its nod. The review of tariffs will be based on market demands,” Tata officials said.

“The entry of new operators will lead to a significant growth in the market. Bharti provides the world’s best technology (GSM) that offers all segments of the market, real and true unlimited mobility and the freedom of choice,” the Bharti group said.

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