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Telenor starts talking

New Delhi, Dec. 3: Norwegian telecom firm Telenor today launched mobile services in seven circles. The company expects to grab an 8 per cent market share over the next eight years.

Telenor, which had last year acquired a majority stake in domestic telecom firm Unitech Wireless, has rolled out its services under the Uninor brand.

The company is offering two plans — a base plan called Talklonger @ 29p/min and a subscription plan called Callmore @ 29p/min. It will charge 29 paise per minute for local calls and 49 paise for national long-distance calls on both the plans.

However, for Talklonger, a customer has to pay an additional fee of 39 paise per call irrespective of the talk time.

The Callmore plan comes with a daily rental of Rs 2.

Analysts said the tariff plans were more expensive compared with other operators.

“Although local call rates are 29 paise, there is an additional fee which takes the total cost of a call to around 70 paise per minute, which is higher than some operators who are charging 30-60 paise per minute.”

Justifying the high tariff plans, Telenor Group CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said, “Our target market is mid-to-high- end customers.”

Telenor is also staying away from the per-second billing plan that most operators have recently announced. “Per-second billing is not necessarily a feature customers are looking for,” he said.

Uninor today started services in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, east and west Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar (including Jharkhand) and plans to start operations in Orissa by 2009-end.

It is targeting five more circles by early next year.

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