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Call anywhere in India for Re 1

Make a call for just Re 1 per minute, anywhere in India under OneIndia plan launched by BSNL and MTNL that will come into effect from March 1.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 19:43 IST

Make a call for just Re 1 per minute, anywhere in India under OneIndia plan launched by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd that will come into effect from March 1.

Existing subscribers of the two telecom operators who wish to migrate to the new tariff scheme can make an application with the concerned zonal office, the dates for which will be announced later. New customers can apply for the new tariff scheme from March 1.

Pegged as the dream project of Communication Minister Dayanidhi Maran, OneIndia will be available for a monthly rental of Rs 299 per month for fixed line phone with a local call rate of Re 1 per three minutes as against existing rate of Rs 1.20 per three minutes. The post-paid BSNL mobile subscribers under the OneIndia plan too will pay a monthly rental of Rs 299.

While pre-paid connections under the scheme will be available for a one-time payment of Rs 799 with a talk time of Rs 550 and a validity of 30 days. The pre-paid option offers a call at 60 paise per minute to another BSNL phone and Re 1 per minute to any other operator's phone anywhere in the country. Subscribers will no longer have to dial 0 to make an STD call. Instead, another number will be issued through an order by BSNL and MTNL to be prefixed to make an STD call.

Speaking to reporters at his office Maran, said, “The Re 1 a minute STD tariff should be able to check the surrender of fixed phones of the PSUs which happened on a large-scale last year due to the surge in mobile usage. Now mobile and landline tariffs are same in this plan. This will plug in the surrenders.” BSNL CMD A.K. Sinha said, “This plan for the first time takes away the distinction between the fixed line tariff and the cellular tariff and thus makes the tariff 'technology independent'. This marks the death of distance and STD, it (STD) is a history,” said Sinha.

BSNL expects an initial drop in revenues of Rs 3,000 crore if it fails to generate 30 per cent growth in call traffic. But a confident Sinha said, “With this plan, we expect not only to stop the churn of customers from fixed line to mobile but also to add new customers.” He added, “Further, we expect that the fall in revenues due to lowering of tariff will be compensated by the growth in volume of traffic,” said Sinha.

Maran is optimistic that Finance Ministry would be able to offer some sops to the two telecom PSUs. He said, “I have recently lowered revenue share on STD and ISD... Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is much more progressive than all of us and I am sure he will come out with many pleasant surprises.” Senior officials of BSNL and MTNL said that the tariffs were interconnect usage charges and access deficit charge-compliant as prescribed by the telecom regulator. As per the existing IUC regime, the operator pays 30 paise each for origination, termination and ADC and upto Rs 1.10 towards carriage charge (depending upon the distance). But officials are optimistic that a revenue sharebased ADC and lower carriage charges would help then sustain a rate of Re 1 a minute STD.

MTNL CMD R.S.P Sinha said, “Lower carriage charges will result in drop of call rates. We have calculated that calls between Delhi and Mumbai can be carried at a single pulse rate of two-three paise per minute.”