The rate-cut war that started in the Mumbai cellular market is now spreading to other metros. To beat the competition, Hutch has announced free incoming calls within its network for all post-paid customers in the three metros.
Hutch has slashed voice roaming and short messaging service (SMS) charges by 50 per cent in Delhi and by 40 per cent to Rs 1.49 per minute in Chennai.
In Kolkata, Hutch associate Command has introduced a flat rate of Rs 1.49 per minute for roaming within the Hutchison and partner networks. SMS charges too have been cut to Rs 1.49 from Rs 3 per message within the network.
Following the suit, Airtel has made incoming calls on GSM network free in Kolkata. For roaming, the subscribers will pay just the local call rates.
RPG Cellular in Chennai is also planning to reduce the roaming rates to Rs 1.49 per minute.
According to sources, Hutch has also introduced a new scheme "Free Speech" whereby new pre-paid users in the next one month will receive free airtime worth Rs 419 at the time of activation. Airtel too plans to soon announce similar scheme for its post-paid subscribers in Delhi.
According to the new Hutch plan, a post-paid subscriber in Delhi will receive incoming calls from any one of the over 1.6 million Hutchison customers across its networks in India, for free.
Hutchison offers cellular services in Kolkata, Mumbai, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chennai and Andhra Pradesh. The new rates will be effective from August 5.
SMS roaming charges have also been reduced to Rs 1.49 per message from Rs 3. The tariffs will be applicable only in Hutch's network.
Roaming on networks other than partner networks would continue to be charged Rs 3 per minute for airtime and Rs 3 per SMS.
In Chennai, Hutch has introduced a new plan "Talk Max" for the high-end users, which has a fixed rental of Rs 1,995 per month with no airtime component and offers free incoming and outgoing calls.
Meanwhile Airtel has filed its tariff plans with the Trai for approval.