Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Apr 02, 2004
Info-Tech - Telecommunications
BSNL cuts ISD, STD rates by 15-25 pc Slashes domestic bandwidth prices by 60 pc
New Delhi , April 1
THE first day of the new fiscal year has brought good news for 41.3 million landline and mobile subscribers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. The telecom major has announced a 15-25 per cent cut in both ISD and inter-circle STD tariffs effective April 10. Domestic bandwidth prices from non-commercial users have also been slashed by 60 per cent.
Announcing the revised tariffs, Mr V.P. Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL, noted that the new ISD rates are possible because of the lower settlement rates offered by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, while the STD drop is on account of the new interconnection usage charge regime introduced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
"For our fixed and mobile subscribers, the ISD rates have been reduced by average 25 per cent as we have decided to route our ISD calls through VSNL till we sign agreements with international carriers for our very own ILD operations, which will commence soon. The reduction in tariffs would result in a loss of Rs 300-350 crore but we hope it will compensated through surge in traffic," he said.
He noted that both the landline and mobile call rates to the US and Canada, have been reduced by 25 per cent, at Rs 7.20 per minute from Rs 9.60 per minute earlier. Similarly, ISD calls to South-East Asian countries including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong would cost Rs 9.60 per minute as against Rs 12 per minute earlier, a drop of 20 per cent.
BSNL subscribers making calls to the SAARC countries will have to pay 15 per cent lower rates at Rs 18 per minute as against Rs 21.18 per minute that was being charged at peak time. The call rates to the rest of the world have been similarly reduced by 25 per cent at Rs 18 per minute as against the peak time rate of Rs 24 per minute.
The revised list has left untouched the tariffs for calls to the UK and rest of Europe, which continue to be charged at the present rates of Rs 7.20 per minute and Rs 9.60 per minute respectively.
Mr Sinha noted that BSNL also decided to reduce inter-circle STD charges by 25 per cent for distance beyond 200 km to Rs 3.60 per minute from Rs 4.80 for its fixed line customers. The charges per minute are indicative only, and the applicable charges will be as per the actual talk time in multiples of 20 seconds.
Subscribers opting for "alternate packages" will get further discounted rates.
He also announced that non-commercial users of high bandwidth (2Mbps & above) would now enjoy 60 per cent discount on TRAI standard tariff 1999.
For example 2Mbps circuit, which now cost Rs 22 lakh, will be available at Rs 8.8 lakh.
A further benefit is extended to these users in the reduction of local lead charges as local lead is now charged from SDCC (short distance charging centre) to SDCC instead of earlier LDCC (long distance charging centre) to LDCC. The discount is effective from April 1.
The benefit does not apply to licensed telecom service providers.
Another scheme announced by the company, targeted at the lower-middle income group, is the pilgrimage calling card with denomination of Rs 100 and Rs 200 and a 30-day validity period.
To be effective from April 5, the card would entitle pilgrims a discount of 10 per cent on local, STD and ISD rates and will be available from pilgrimage locations only.
Mr Sinha also pointed out that the company expects a net profit for 2003-04 to double to about Rs 3,000 crore, while revenues were likely to increase to Rs 29,000 crore.
Competitors caught napping
TAKEN by surprise, the private operators are working on revised tariff plans for their subscribers.
While officials of Bharti noted that the landline tariffs for their subscribers are already low, those for cellular subscribers may have to be reworked. Tata Teleservices officials also noted that revised tariffs would be worked out to make them more competitive.
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