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BSNL knocks TDSAT doors

BSNL has challenged a massive reduction in a fee paid to it by pvt operators, saying its rural operations would be severely hit as a result.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 12:49 IST

State-owned BSNL has challenged a massive reduction in a fee paid to it by private operators, saying its rural operations would be severely hit as a result.

The Telecom regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had announced new Access Deficit Charge (ADC) regime last month, reducing the quantum paid by private operators to BSNL by about Rs 2,000 crore and also moved to revenue-share regime from per call basis.

"The reduction in ADC is absolutely arbitrary and without any logic. This would affect rural operations badly," BSNL officials said, while confirming the move to challenge TRAI's decision before the telecom tribunal TDSAT.

BSNL also opposed the percentage of revenue share to be paid as ADC by the private operators. "The basis of fixing ADC at 1.5 per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) is not sufficient," the officials said.

At this rate, in case the telecom tariffs go down from the existing level resulting in lower AGR, BSNL would stand to lose in the future.

While announcing the new regime, TRAI had estimated that a revenue loss of Rs 1,800 crore annually for BSNL. The telecom PSU was collecting over Rs 5,000 crore earlier which has now come down to Rs 3,200 crore.

Asked whether this would affect the new tariff packages announced by almost all operators including India One, which offers all calls -- local or STD -- at Re one, officials declined to comment.

New ADC regime has been implemented with effect from March 1 and the subscribers have been offered new tariffs based on reduction in the levy rates.

TRAI has gone ahead with the reduction without giving any satisfactory answer on how to meet the rural targets in the absence of appropriate compensation.

On the international traffic, ADC has been slashed to Rs 1.60 and Rs 0.80 per minute on incomming and outgoing calls (ISD) respectively. Besides, TRAI has fixed a ceiling on carriage charges for domestic long distance calls (STD) at Rs 0.65 per minute.

This may reduce the STD charges in distance beyond 50 km but could increase tariffs for 0-50 km segment as the earlier carriage charges were Rs 0.20 per minute and has been criticised by BSNL on the ground that maximum traffic falls under 0-50 km.