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Touchtel unveils three new tariff plans

By N. Ravi Kumar

CHENNAI, MARCH 22. Competition in the landline phone segment is hotting up. Close on the heels of Chennai Telephones introducing two new packages, its competitor, Touchtel, has unveiled three new landline tariff plans.

The monthly rental of the `minute-magic' tariff plans of Touchtel is Rs. 499, Rs. 999 and Rs. 1,495. The free talk time on the schemes is Rs. 495, Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 1,575 respectively. The private wired-line service provider also announced new call charges.

In the Rs. 499 rental plan, a three-minute local call to any other fixed line and a one-minute call to mobile phones will be charged at Rs. 1.10. It will be Re.1 for every call in the Rs. 999 and 90 paise in the Rs. 1,495 package.

Long distance calls from Touchtel to any phone, including mobile, within the State will cost Rs. 1.69 per minute. Calls up to 500 km will be charged at Rs. 2.99 a minute, while those to other places in the country will cost Rs. 3.99.

Touchtel has a subscriber base of 95,000 in and around Chennai, a company official said, pointing out that the service was available in almost all the localities in the city and neighbourhood, including Tambaram, Perambur and Tiruvottriyur.

While the three Touchtel plans opened on March 16, Chennai Telephones today opened subscription for its `Surprise' and `Easy' landline packages. The launch of the new packages is presumably the first move of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited entity after being allowed to devise schemes to meet the competition. Surprise and Easy, with relatively low security deposit and monthly rental, are specific to Chennai Telephones, official sources said. The two packages, however, would not available to existing subscribers.

The decision to treat Chennai Telephones and Tamil Nadu Telecom circle as a single area for calculating the tariff for its mobile phone subscribers also came into effect today. As per the decision, calls from mobile phone users of Chennai Telephones to any other mobile in the State will be charged at local call rate. The same principle will apply whenever a mobile subscriber of Tamil Nadu Telecom Circle calls any mobile in Chennai.

Airtel initiatives

Airtel, the Bharti group company, engaged in providing mobile service, is in discussion with banks to introduce an e-bill (online payment) option for its subscribers.

According to Sumathi Gurumurthi, its chief service delivery officer, the tie-up will be finalised in two months. Presently, the subscribers have the option of viewing their bills and transactions online.

Noting that Airtel was initiating various customer-friendly measures, she said the company recently launched a single national customer care number - 121.

Subscribers, especially those roaming, accessing this number would be connected to the nearest call centre of the service provider.

By logging on to www.airtelworld.com, the subscribers could view their monthly bills online and analyse their itemised call details, she said.

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