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BSNL cuts free calls; keeps rentals unchanged
April 10, 2003 22:26 IST
India's largest telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd announced on Thursday a reduction in monthly free calls for landline telephone subscribers but did not increase the overall monthly telephone rentals for urban and rural subscribers.
The number of free calls has been reduced to 30 calls per month for urban users and 50 for rural users, a BSNL press statement said.
BSNL said monthly telephone rentals for rural and urban customers would not change. The new tariffs would be applicable from May 1, 2003.
The existing three-minute pulse for local calls for fixed-to-fixed lines up to 50 kilometres has been retained.
This assumes significance as TRAI had announced standard tariffs in January, increasing the monthly rentals and call charges for basic telephony services, a move, which had led to apprehensions that the telephone services may become less affordable once the new tariffs are implemented.
BSNL's alternate tariff packages have been cleared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
At present urban subscribers are entitled to 75 free calls per month.
Intra circle (within a circle) long distance calls beyond 200-kms have been brought down from Rs 4.80 per minute to Rs 2.40 per minute and this would be available to all customers including the non-STD customers by dialling '95'.
Commenting on the package, BSNL chairman and managing director Prithpal Singh said, "We have tried to keep all our customers happy."
In case of inter-circle calls (calls made between two circles), the long distance tariffs would remain unchanged for fixed-to-fixed calls. Inter-circle long distance calls from fixed to a cellphone would be made cheaper to Rs 3.60 per minute from Rs 4.80 per minute for distance beyond 200-km.
Access to Internet during peak hours would remain unchanged at 3-minute pulse rate as at present.
Access to Internet during the off-peak hours - 2230 to 0630 IST - have been made cheap and this will be at the rate of 10 minute pulse amounting to Rs 7 per hour.
As part of the new plan, BSNL is also offering special concessional packages to high-end subscribers both in rural and urban areas.
The move to implement the new tariff packages is expected to come as a relief to the subscribers. TRAI in January had announced standard tariff packags for basic telephones whereby it had raised the rentals while cutting down call duration from three minutes to two minutes along with sharp curtailment in the number of free calls.
While hiking the monthly rental for landline phones from Rs 250 now to Rs 280 for urban users, TRAI had halved the number of free calls from 60 to 30 every month, as part of the standard package.On the other hand, the regulator had exempted the rural subscribers from any hike in rental while lowering the free calls from 75 to 50 a month.