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BSNL, MTNL submit alternate tariff plans
March 13, 2003 20:01 IST
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd have submitted alternate basic (landline) telephony tariff plans, pegging the rates much below the ceiling rates announced by TRAI, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.
"BSNL and MTNL have submitted alternate schemes of tariff that address the concerns (like keeping rates low and increasing tele-density in rural areas)," Minister for Telecom and Divestment Arun Shourie said.
Stating that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had only prescribed the ceiling for basic telephone rental and call charges, he said BSNL and MTNL are trying to peg their rates much below the ceiling.
Replying to a short duration discussion on the subject, he did not disclose the alternate tariff plans of BSNL and MTNL saying they would be announced only after TRAI approves them.
Shourie, however, disagreed with suggestions by members that basic telephony should be made cheaper. If the rates are not profitable for investors, including BSNL and MTNL, they would not be able to expand.
"If we freeze (rentals and tariff), telecom sector would turn sick just like the power sector" which has run into deep losses due to selling of electricity below the cost, he said.Explaining the rationale of increasing rentals for basic telephone line and local charges, Shourie said the competition has seen drastic fall in STD/ISD rates that earlier were used to subsidise local telephony.
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