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BSNL to implement Trai's fixed tariffs from April 1
Thomas K Thomas in New Delhi | February 10, 2003 13:33 IST
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will implement the tariffs for fixed line phones prescribed by the Trai as the standard package by April 1.
The company however is also planning alternative tariff packages, which will have a mix of higher rentals and lower call charges or vice versa.
Prithipal Singh, chairman and managing director said, "We have decided to implement the Trai tariffs as our standard package. But like in any other telecom services we will also have packages that will be in variance with the Trai order.
Until now the fixed line tariffs were so low that we could not offer alternative tariffs but with the hike it gives us room to play around with the numbers."
Trai had ordered a hike in monthly rentals in urban areas from Rs 250 to Rs 280. The pulse of call has also been brought down from three minutes to two minutes.
Trai had also brought down the number of free calls from 60 to 30 calls per month in non urban areas and from 75 to 50 in urban areas.
Trai has also said that it would permit alternative tariff packages as long as it is not predatory in nature.
While this would mean that consumers of fixed line phones would have to cough up at least 33 per cent more than what they are paying now, BSNL officials said that this was inevitable.
"With our margins from long distance tariffs coming down significantly, it was not possible to subsidise the local calls anymore. Therefore the hike was imminent," said a BSNL official.
However in order to blunt the impact of the hike on consumers BSNL is planning to come out with alternative tariff packages that would offer lower fixed line tariffs.
BSNL is also planning to bundle vale added services like subsidised Internet surfing and free caller line identification to make fixed line phones attractive.