Videsh Sanchar Nigam, the country's largest ISP, has slashed its dial-up Internet access rates by 50 per cent, effective from January 3. The move comes at a time when leading private ISPs are planning an increase in access rates in a bid to cover losses.
Subscribers to VSNL's regular services will be able to avail of 100-hours of access at Rs 750. This represents a 50 per cent drop from the existing rate of Rs 1,500 per 100-hours, which was part of the 'festival package' introduced by the ISP in November last year. The festival package netted 90,000 new subscribers. VSNL's total subscriber base stands at 5.2 lakh.
While VSNL is contemplating a further cut in access charges, private ISPs seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Among leading private ISPs which are considering a price hike are Delhi-based Mantra Online, which has a one lakh plus subscriber base, Chennai's Satyam Infoway and Mumbai-based BSES Telecom.
It was anticipated that with the reduction in leased line and IPLC rates by VSNL, would spur a reduction in access rates by private ISPs as well, since the cost of acquiring bandwidth by the ISPs would reduce considerably. While there is no clarity yet on the percentage of price hike of dial-up access by the private ISPs, the mood within the industry is to move simultaneously, said industry sources.