Telecom regulator TRAI on Monday said it is looking at the possibility of revisiting the telecom tariff issues which are currently determined by market forces.
“We are looking at the desirability and feasibility of relooking the tariffs as a whole. We are still examining it and have not made up our mind”, TRAI Chairman J.S. Sarma told reporters replying to a query on whether the regulator is issuing a consultation paper on cutting down SMS rates.
At present, telecom tariffs are determined by market forces and rates have steeply fallen to per second level of late in the wake of fierce competition among existing players.
Though the regulator did not comment on the trigger for looking at the current arrangement of forbearance (market determined prices), sources said some of the operators have spoken to TRAI on the need to look at the forbearance issue in wake of the low tariffs and the sector gradually getting into slower growth mode.
They said the regulator has to balance between operators’ and consumer’s interests. A very low tariff regime also can put a lot of pressure on the industry and in the long run the sector can be less attractive to foreign investors who are basically here for the potential Indian market, they added.
Every operator has adopted per second billing at the moment. If the scheme was so useful, what were the operators doing for so long, they wondered.
India with call rates of less than 50 cents has been an attractive destination for all big foreign telcos who are already here through local JVs.