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BSNL plans alternative tariff package
BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai |
January 30, 2003 12:33 IST
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is working out alternative packages in addition to the standard tariff package prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Prithipal Singh, chairman and managing director, BSNL, told reporters in Mumbai on Wednesday, "The new tariff rates are applicable only from April 1. We have sufficient time to work on it and will come out with some attractive packages that are beneficial to customers."
Sumitra Mahajan, minister of state for communications, also said BSNL would see that the common man was not burdened.
She, however, said, "The increased tariff rate is not totally out of reach of the common man." The BSNL board was free to decide whether to accept the standard tariff package as directed by Trai, Mahajan said.
In its new tariff order, Trai has increased rentals, reduced free calls and pulse rate for fixed line phones, while introducing interconnect user charges.
Trai's order has come at a time when both cellular and limited mobility players are driving down their tariff rates.
Singh said India was currently implementing a critical stage of regulatory changes that would stimulate economic growth and broaden access to telecommunications.
"However, there is a need to move away from price wars and look into providing quality network. The focus should now be on increasing customer base and telephone usage," he added.
With the changing tariff rates, the growth pattern has changed. "The economics indicate there is less cost incurred on wireless than fixed lines. Even the customer base for wireless has increased vis-a-vis fixed lines," he said.
BSNL has chalked out Rs 12,000 crore (Rs 120 billion) capital expenditure for 2003-04, of which Rs 2,500 crore (Rs 25 billion) has been earmarked for wireless telephony. BSNL expects 1.5-2 million customers for wireless, and 1.5 million fixed line customers by end of the financial year 2003-04.