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Monday, Dec 09, 2002

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TRAI may clear Reliance limited mobility tariff plan

G. Rambabu

As per the plan filed by Reliance, on offer is a tariff of 20 paise per minute with a 15-second pulse for its limited mobility CDMA services.


THE Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is likely to give its nod to the tariff plan filed by Reliance Communication Ltd for its limited mobility services across 18 circles in the country to be launched on December 28.

According to informed sources, the company made a presentation to the authority on Friday and the final decision is expected in the next couple of days. While Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and the cellular operators have objected to the low tariff plan of Reliance, the authority is veering towards the view that since the tariff structure is not below costs and the customer will be the ultimate beneficiary it should have no objection.

Although no final decision had been taken as yet, the company could expect a reply from TRAI in the next couple of days, the sources said. As per the plan filed by Reliance, on offer is a tariff of 20 paise per minute with a 15-second pulse for its limited mobility CDMA (code division multiple access) services. In other words, the subscriber will have to pay only 5 paise for every 15 seconds on outgoing calls, with all incoming calls being free. What is more, this tariff is applicable to all calls made within the circles i.e. the subscriber does not have to pay STD rates for calling within the circle if it is to another Reliance subscriber, say from Chennai to Coimbatore, or Pune to Nagpur. This plan envisages an upfront payment of Rs 14,400 over a three-year period, which works out to Rs 400 per month. The Rs 400 comprises two elements, a monthly rental of Rs 240 and 800 minutes of airtime worth Rs 160.

The present rate being offered by BSNL, MTNL and other basic operators remains at Rs 1.20 for three minutes with free incoming calls. The cellular tariffs are, of course, much higher, varying from circle to circle.

To make it affordable, the company has also tied up with banks to enable the subscribers to take low-interest loans to make the down payment.

Meanwhile, Reliance is also bundling the service with CDMA handsets at attractive prices starting from Rs 1,500. The GSM handsets available in the market at present start at a little over Rs 4,000.

Having tied up with LG Electronics for the handsets, the company plans to dismiss the notion that the prohibitive cost of handsets may deter the subscriber.

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