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BSNL rolls out an STD bounty
Thomas K Thomas in New Delhi |
April 30, 2003 12:26 IST
Starting May 1, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's 40 million fixed-line and wireless in local loop subscribers will not have to pay STD charges for calls made within a circle.
This means any call made within a circle will be treated like a local call. Subscribers will be charged on a 30-second pulse instead of the existing three-minute pulse.
For its cellular users, BSNL has proposed to drop STD tariffs for its cellular subscribers from Rs 4.80 a minute to nearly Rs 4 a minute.
As per the tariff proposal submitted to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, BSNL is planning to introduce a new plan with Rs 600 as monthly rental. At present, BSNL has only two plans in the post-paid category with Rs 325 and Rs 225 as monthly rentals.
The move is aimed at taking on the challenge from private cellular operators and Reliance Infocomm. In case of cellular services, mobile subscribers pay only the local airtime when making calls within a circle.
Reliance, on the other hand, is charging STD calls at 40 paise a minute.
Senior BSNL officials said, "It has been decided to extend '95' facility beyond 200 km for intra circle calls.
Thus, the subscriber can dial within a telecom circle without dialling the STD code. The scheme will be applicable for calls from basic to basic and basic to WLL limited mobility and vice versa."
From May 1 onwards, a call between Lucknow and Agra, Kottayam and Trivandrum, Pune and Mumbai and between any two cities in a circle will be charged as a local call. This, however, will not be applicable to PCO and local pay phone booths.
Industry sources said BSNL's new cellular plan would also offer more free STD calls to subscribers and was aimed at high-end users.
BSNL will also extend free incoming from its fixed-line subscribers to all other cellular operators as per the TRAI's January 24 order. Until now, only CellOne subscribers were getting the benefit of free incoming calls from BSNL's 35 million fixed-line users. BSNL had dropped the cell-to-fixed line STD tariffs to Rs 4.80 a minute in January this year from Rs 9 a minute.
The move was prompted by a similar cut announced by private cellular firms where they dropped STD rates to Rs 2.99 a minute. But that was only for cell-to-cell calls.
Meanwhile other telecom service providers are gearing up to announce new tariffs based on TRAI's inter-connect usage charges, to be effective from May 1.Tata Teleservices was expected to announce its revised tariffs for WLL and fixed line services, but is still awaiting clearance from the regulator.