The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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One-rupee call shrinks distance

New Delhi, Feb. 10: BSNL and MTNL today announced a major cut in rates by allowing STD calls to any place in the country at a flat rate of Re 1 per minute, sparking off hopes of a renewed rate war.

The two state-run telecom firms also reduced the local landline rates to Re 1 from the existing Rs 1.20 for a three-minute call. However, the monthly rental has been raised to Rs 299 from Rs 250.

The new rates will come into effect from March 1.

The OneIndia tariff will give BSNL and MTNL a definite head-start over private telecom operators whose rates are significantly higher.

Consider the Airtel-599 package. Under the scheme, an STD call between Airtel subscribers costs Rs 2 per minute. For other calls, irrespective of the distance, charges stand at Rs 2.65 per minute.

Similarly, Hutch subscribers pay Rs 2.64 per minute for an STD call, irrespective of the distance.

Reliance Infocomm has recently announced a Re 1 STD scheme for its mobile phone-users, but this comes packaged with a higher monthly rental of Rs 499.

Analysts feel the state-run companies’ new tariff plan will force private operators to rework their numbers and come up with competitive packages.

The problem for the private operators is that they will not only have to match the low STD rate but also the low monthly rentals proposed by the two state-run companies.

For its post-paid mobile services, BSNL has proposed a rental of Rs 299. Calls to other BSNL subscribers would be at the rate of 40 paise a minute within the state (intra-circle). Calls to any other network across the country (STD) would cost Re 1 a minute, BSNL chairman A.K. Sinha said.

BSNL’s pre-paid plan of Rs 799 has a talk time of Rs 550 and a validity period of 30 days. Under the package, calls made to BSNL subscribers would be charged at the rate of 60 paise per minute, while for other networks it would be Re 1 a minute.

For MTNL cellular subscribers, the charges have been reduced by 60 per cent for STD calls with a Re 1-per-minute tariff to MTNL as well as any other network.

ADC regime

Telecom regulator Trai may announce the new access deficit charge, a levy paid by private operators to BSNL, next week, communication minister Dayanidhi Maran today said.

“The new ADC regime based on the percentage of revenue share is likely to be announced next week. This will provide a level-playing field to all the operators,” Maran said, adding, “I am sure private corporates will bring many surprises for their customers.”

Asked whether the quantum going to BSNL as ADC at Rs 5,000 crore would be retained, the minister declined to comment saying this is for the regulator to see.

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