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Steep cut in ILD and NLD entry fee

Special Correspondent

Telecom revenue share reduced Telecom revenue share reduced


Roll-out obligations liberalised

NEW DELHI: A significant drop in telecom call tariffs in India appeared imminent with the Government on Thursday cutting the licence fee for offering national and international long distance services to a uniform Rs. 2.50 crore from the existing Rs. 100 crore and Rs. 25 crore, respectively.

Call tariffs may drop

Simultaneously, a full Telecom Commission meeting on Thursday drastically reduced the revenue share to six per cent from the existing 15 per cent.

"I expect call tariffs to drop by at least nine per cent immediately," Communications and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran told reporters after announcing the decision at the end of the meeting. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) welcomed the Minister's announcement.

Significantly, the government has also done away with the roll out obligations, which are stringent in their present form.

Mr. Maran said the new norms excluding the entry fee would be applicable to all new and existing players like Bharti, Reliance Infocomm, VSNL and BSNL. The lower entry fee, he said, had been fixed taking into account the depreciation of existing licence value of Rs. 100 crore and Rs. 25 crore for STD and ISD players, respectively. "I am sure the players would pass on the benefit to consumers immediately,'' he said

By opening up the Internet telephony further, the Government has allowed Access Service Providers like Bharti, Tata, Reliance, BSNL and MTNL to provide telephony through the web and also use the network of NLD and ILD service licensees for offering Broadband and Internet services, besides Internet telephony. This could result in reduction in Internet access charges.

UNI adds:

VOIP legalised

Mr. Maran said voice-over-internet-telephony (VOIP) had been legalised. So far net telephony was not permitted in India and it had been decided that the access service provider could provide Internet telephony, Internet services and broadband services.

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