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BSNL, Hutch cut cell tariffs

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BSNL, Hutch cut cell tariffs

90 paisa/minute to any cellular network for BSNL pre-paid mobile subscribers.

The state-owned telecom company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), and private player Hutch today announced lower tariffs for post-paid users.

BSNL announced the lowest-ever tariff for both mobile and fixed-line subscribers, adding a new chapter to the price war kicked off by Reliance Infocomm, Bharti and Hutch.

“We expect a 35-40 per cent growth in our subscriber base and about a 7 per cent increase in our revenue in 2004-2005, compared with the previous financial year,” VP Sinha, chairman and managing director, BSNL, told reporters.

Out of this 7 per cent growth, new subscribers would account for 5 per cent, and the remaining 2 per cent would come from value-added services, he added.

A BSNL pre-paid mobile subscriber can now make a local call to any cellular network at 90 paisa per minute, compared with Rs 0.99 charged by Reliance, Rs 0.99 charged by Hutch and Re 1 charged by AirTel. Likewise, an intra-circle call from cellular to a fixed-line network has been priced at Rs 1.20, compared with Rs 1.79 charged by Reliance and Rs 2.25 charged by Hutch and AirTel.

The call charges in these segments witnessed a reduction in the range of 50-59 per cent.

BSNL has priced cell-to-cell STD calls at Rs 2.00, from the earlier Rs 2.40. Cell to fixed-line long-distance calls have been priced at Rs 2.40, irrespective of distance. The call charges in this segment have been reduced by 33 per cent.

BSNL also reduced tariffs for its fixed-line subscribers by 33 per cent. They will pay less at Rs 2.40 a minute for a long-distance call, versus Rs 3.60 earlier.

Hutchison-Essar, the GSM operator, today cut rates for its post-paid users for calls made to any mobile to Rs 0.99 per minute and the long-distance rate to any phone to Rs 2.25 per minute.

Harit Nagpal, Chief Marketing Officer, Hutch, said, “It is difficult for subscribers to differentiate between Hutch and non-Hutch numbers, especially with the allocation of the new numbering series in all circles. To avoid confusion, Hutch has introduced uniform rates for all mobile calls within the same circle and all long-distance calls within the country.”

All existing and new Hutch post-paid users on the Talk 150 plan (with a monthly rental of Rs 150 per month), can subscribe to the new tariffs, at a monthly fee of Rs 25. Hutch users who do not opt for this promotion, will pay a lower rate of Rs 1.69 for all locals calls, compared with the existing rate of Rs 1.99.

Hutch cut prices for its pre-paid customers yesterday in the footsteps of Reliance Infocomm and Airtel. BPL is yet to announce any cut, but is expected to do so soon.


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