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Telecom growth due to competition: Trai
April 07, 2004 19:14 IST
Intense competition in the telecom sector led to a whopping 74 per cent reduction in mobile telephony tariffs and 25 per cent drop in long distance call charges, while the cellular subscriber base increased by 13 million to end the last fiscal at over 33.5 million.
"The telecom service sector has shown unprecedented growth during 2003-04 mainly driven by intense competition and aggressive pricing," The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in a statement in New Delhi.
The fixed line subscriber base, including WLL (fixed), registered a growth of 3 per cent at 42.58 million while mobile base (including GSM and CDMA) grew by a massive 160 per cent at 33.58 million, Trai said.
Four mobile operators -- BSNL, Bharti, Hutch and Reliance -- have exceeded the 5 million mark each, it noted.
During the year, tariff for all telecom services has also shown a significant downward trend. According to an analysis, for average usage of 400 minutes per month, the effective per minute charge has come down to 42 paise in March 2004 as against Rs 1.63 in the corresponding month in the previous year.
The STD charges for distance beyond 200 km have reduced by 25 per cent from Rs 4.80 per minute to Rs 3.60 per minute.
ISD charges have come down drastically due to certain promotional tariff plans by ILD operators. Calls to the United States, Canada and Europe cost only Rs 7.20 per minute as against Rs 24 per minute that prevailed earlier, showing a decline of 70 per cent.
Tariffs for domestic leased lines are also ruling lower, Trai said, adding tariffs for international private leased circuits have also come down to Rs 23.7 lakh (Rs 2.37 million) per year in March 2004 from Rs 27.5 lakh (Rs 2.75 million) in March 2003.
"In accordance with its previous recommendations to government on unified access licensing regime which had been accepted, Trai provided its recommendations to government on intra-circle mergers and acquisitions after studying the prevalent international practices and after consultations with the experts on the subject," Trai said.