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VSNL launches multiple Internet services

By Our Staff Correspondent

S. K. Gupta, Managing Director, Videsh Sanchar Nigam, at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. — Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

MUMBAI DEC. 23. Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. has announced the launch of `Tata Indicom Total Internet', an integrated solution comprising multiple Internet services, that is, Internet access, net telephony and value added mailing services.

Total Internet, which is an unique concept introduced in India for the first time, is an integrated one stop, hassle free quality Internet services solution that allows all existing and new Tata Indicom dial-up customers to avail themselves of multiple services using the rupee value in their Tata Indicom account from VSNL. The value packs are available from Rs. 100 to Rs. 3,000.

Speaking at the launch here today, S. K. Gupta, Managing Director, VSNL, said, "The launch of Tata Indicom Total Internet will enhance our value proposition to our retail customers as it will offer them great convenience and better value for their money".

N. Srinath, Director (Operations) said, "Our business has been predominantly wholesale, through other carriers to the customers, it is now important to have our own customer base. We have been trying to carry forward the exercise of moving from wholesale to retail as the market is moving thus. We need to be able to compete effectively in such a market". He also said that the company would try to make as many offerings in the Internet space as possible. "We will focus on increasing penetration in new markets and increasing value added content of our products".

On bandwidth and the complaints that VSNL was charging too high prices compared to that in the market, Mr. Srinath said the company had filed an application with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with revised prices but said VSNL's prices were competitive and among the lowest in the world. The company would consider its bandwidth prices in the fourth quarter next year, he added. FLAG and VSNL have a commercial agreement in place — Access terms of access agreement. With FLAG going to the Reliance group in the next few months, VSNL will have to relook at the whole agreement as capacity has been exhausted. However, Mr. Srinath said VSNL had a landing station in India and the agreement with FLAG was perpetual.

VSNL also has an alliance with Mobile First, a consortium of four players — BPL, Escotel, Spice and RPG. The alliance is for mobile to mobile STD and ISD using VSNL's National Long Distance (NLD) network. Negotiations were on regarding rates charged by VSNL, said Mr. Srinath. Incidentally, ILD contributed 80 per cent of top-line last year but prices have since crashed. Mr. Srinath said the focus would now be on retail and corporate end of business (end to end solutions), which will be the story in the future and VSNL had only a limited presence in this. The strong areas of ILD and NLD are now extremely cutthroat, according to Mr. Srinath.

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