If you’re wondering how your mobile phone bills have moderated, here’s the answer. Average tariff per minute for a mobile telephone call has reduced to half in last three years. Average cost per minute for a 1-minute call fell to 78 paise in December 2008 compared with Rs 1.77 in March, 2006.
“This is mainly due to the policy of forbearance adopted by the regulator,” said Nripendra Misra, chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). “We have intervened only in the case of roaming when operators didn’t reduce prices.”
Operators, however, have a different view. “Falling tariff is good for the consumer,” said R S P Sinha, chairman and managing director, MTNL. “But at some point it has to bottom out. Perhaps we have reached that level now. Otherwise it will become difficult for operators to make profits.”
In case of roaming, the regulator felt that the charges were very high. “Roaming tariffs were not falling despite competition. Therefore, we had to intervene. Otherwise we have followed the policy of forbearance.”