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    Bharti, Hutch quietly raise call rates


    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=450 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=headline>Bharti, Hutch quietly raise call rates</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=450 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=news>
    PTI | New Delhi
    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>
    After raising STD call rates, Bharti Airtel and Hutch (Vodafone Essar) have now quietly increased local charges within their own network from rupee one to Rs 1.20 per minute for prepaid customers.

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>The new call charges, which come into effect from Monday, will be for prepaid customers for Airtel-to-Airtel and Hutch-to-Hutch calls, officials of both the companies said.

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>The two operators have also increased local SMS rates to Rs 1.20 per message for all users -- both prepaid and postpaid -- from Re one earlier.

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>While even minuscule reduction in rates are announced with fanfare, the companies refrained from publicising the tariff hike and brought out customary notices by way of small advertisements tucked inside newspaper pages.

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Other operators like Idea, MTNL, BSNL, Reliance and Tata could also respond to the hike in local call rates after the revision by two of the country's largest service providers.

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Officials said with subscriber base increasing, it is difficult to maintain networks to support huge additions of new users without raising tariffs. Since prepaid users constitute about 80 per cent of both the operators' customer base it is more useful to tinker with prepaid rates, they said justifying the tariff increase.

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Hutch-Essar and Bharti Airtel had early this month, in a similar fashion, increased STD rates.

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>While prepaid users of both Hutch will pay Rs 2.65 from Rs 2.40 previously for STD to all other networks, Bharti Airtel's prepaid and postpaid mobile customers in Delhi region would pay the same per minute from Rs 2 earlier.

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
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  2. #2
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    Re: Bharti, Hutch quietly raise call rates


    Tariff hike: Trai takes close look</ARTTITLE>
    15 Aug 2007, 0045 hrs IST,Shalini Singh,TNN

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width="100%"><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top align=left>NEW DELHI: After being delivered a rude shock on Monday with Airtel and Hutch (now Vodafone Essar) hiking SMS rates, STD and local call tariffs, consumers now have a glimmer of hope.

    Trai chairman, N Misra told TOI on Tuesday that the regulator was closely watching this ‘unwelcome' development. This change in tack comes as a huge relief to consumers as Misra on Monday had said Trai would not intervene in this upward revision in telecom tariffs, as forbearance on tariff regulation was a global best practice.

    Expressing concern, Misra said a consultation paper had been floated earlier on premium SMS, as there was a strong demand for its regulation.

    However, Trai opted for forbearance with an appeal to telecom service providers that they should bring down SMS rates. "Instead of responding, they have instead chosen to hike tariffs," Misra said.

    "While local and STD tariffs are also under forbearance, we expected that the industry would pass on the benefit of substantial relief on ADC (Access Deficit Charges) to consumers. Instead, here, too an upward trend is being witnessed," Misra said.

    Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar quietly raised local charges within their own network on Monday to Rs 1.20/minute for prepaid and postpaid customers in Delhi from Rs 1/minute. STD rates were raised two weeks ago.

    The two operators have hiked local SMS rates to Rs 1.20 per message for all users — both prepaid and postpaid — from Re 1. STD rates are also impacted. Prepaid users of Hutch will pay Rs 2.65 from Rs 2.40 previously to all other networks, while Bharti Airtel's prepaid and postpaid mobile customers in Delhi region will now pay STD rates of Rs 2.65 and Rs 2.40 a minute respectively from Rs 2 earlier.

    Industry sources said Trai should regulate operators rentals, ensuring a flat monthly rental of not more than Rs 60. "Trai should also place ceilings on call tariffs," says a CDMA player.

    It is also felt that the introduction of number portability is long overdue. Number portability allows users to ‘port' or move their number to another network to avail the most competitive tariffs, without losing their unique mobile number. While Trai had recommended its introduction two years ago, the DoT has been silent on the issue.

    A genuine competitive environment would be if Trai ensures zero charges for porting numbers across operators, says an industry source. Industry is ensuring that it retains its high margins, which were impacted earlier this year when Trai cut roaming tariffs. Operators had said their losses on roaming would have to be offset by a hike in local call and STD rates.

    Industry wants lower tax levies, basing it on consumer benefit and this demand is also now under consideration. "However, given the recent tariff hikes, it is now fairly apparent that they will not want to share their spoils with the consumer," says an expert.

    <!--google_ad_region_end=article--><SCRIPT type=text/javascript> var RN = new String (Math.random()); var RNS = RN.substring (2,11); var b2 = '<iframe src=""\"http://adstil.indiatimes.com/RealMedia/ads/adstream_sx.ads/www.timesofindia.com/Stories/index.html/1'+RNS+'@Right3?\" WIDTH=250 HEIGHT=250 marginwidth=0 align="right" marginheight=0 hspace=0 vspace=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no bordercolor=\"#000000\"> </iframe>'; if (doweshowbellyad==1) bellyad.innerHTML = b2; </SCRIPT>
    </TD></TR><TR><TD height=10></TD></TR><TR><TD align=right>

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Tariff hike: Trai takes close look-India Business-Business-The Times of India



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