Operators upbeat, say more tariff rebates, value-added services likely

Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 24

The Government's One India initiative seems to have caught the imagination of the subscribers. The state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has already got 2.5 lakh subscribers on the new scheme, which offers STD calls at Re 1 a minute. Private operators said that the numbers would be clearer only by the month-end. They said that response to the scheme has been good since the tariff plan was launched from March 1 onwards.

Operators said that One India plan, along with the lifetime validity pre-paid card offers, was set to take the subscriber growth in March to a higher level. Operators have been reporting additions of over four million new subscribers every month and this month, the numbers are expected to be close to five million.

The Department of Telecom has already said that the growth levels being witnessed by India in the mobile segment is unparalleled in the world.

Meanwhile, operators, including BSNL, said that consumers will get further rebates in tariffs and more value-added services. One India tariff plan had also brought down the ISD rates by over 60 per cent. Though the monthly rentals has been revised upwards in this plan, subscribers making a lot of long distance calls are lapping up the product. The plan was launched as a result of policy initiatives to bring down the cost of offering services, including relaxing the licence fee for long distance operators and also bringing down the subsidy burden on operators, through the access deficit charge by nearly Rs 2,000 crore.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 25, 2006)
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