Telecom Minister A. Raja on Tuesday indicated that termination charge - a levy paid by an operator to the network on which a phone call ends - can come down further, lowering mobile tariffs.
“I requested the operators, the termination charge can come down by 2010 and accordingly, tariffs can be reduced,” the minister told reporters after meeting CEOs of telecom companies here.
He said local call charges could come down to as little as 10 paise a minute and STD tariffs to 25 paise a minute.
“I have also asked them to utilise optimally the USO fund to enhance telecom infrastructure in rural areas. The government is in the process of simplifying the rules for getting funds from the kitty,” he said.
The government has over Rs 16,000 crore in the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund, a kitty for subsidising rural operations.
He said increasing rural teledensity was a top priority of the government and that the operators must go to rural India and set up telecom infrastructure there.
The government has set a target of 10 million broadband subscribers in rural areas in the next two years and asked the service providers to make efforts to meet the targets.
Raja has convened a meeting of CEOs of telecom operators, equipment manufacturers and Internet Service Providers (ISP).
He is likely to meet the equipment makers on Wednesday and discuss steps to be taken to strengthen rural infrastructure.
This will be followed by a meeting with the ISPs.