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Airtel slashes STD, roaming tariffs

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roam with ease: Manoj Kohli (left), President and CEO, with Sanjay Kapoor, President, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel, at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.
roam with ease: Manoj Kohli (left), President and CEO, with Sanjay Kapoor, President, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel, at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.

Special Correspondent

New tariffs take effect from April 30 and will be available for both pre- and post-paid users

NEW DELHI: Triggering off a new round of price war in the roaming and STD segments for mobile telephony, leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel on Monday slashed STD and roaming tariffs by 43 per cent benefiting its 62 million customers.

Taking an aggressive posture to tap this huge potential segment, the company announced a reduction in STD rates by 43.39 per cent to Rs. 1.50 a minute from the earlier Rs. 2.65 a minute.

The new tariffs would be effective from April 30 and would be available for both pre- and post-paid users.

According to the announcement made by the company President and CEO, Manoj Kohli, and President, Mobile Services, Sanjay Kapoor, roaming charges for incoming calls would be cut to Re. 1 a minute from Rs. 1.75 a minute, a reduction of 42.85 per cent. Now, Airtel customers, while on roaming would be able to make local calls at Re. 1 a minute and an STD call at Rs. 1.50 a minute.

The move is expected to trigger a similar trend among all cellular operators like Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices to get a bigger chunk of the market share.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been urging operators to reduce roaming rates saying they had been on the higher side. TRAI had already abolished the practice of levying Access Deficit Charges (ADC) on private operators.

Mr. Kohli said many users switched off their phones while on roaming as they felt that the incoming rates were very high. “We plan to check that with this reduction,” he said. During the fourth quarter of 2007-08, Bharti Airtels’ average revenue per user in the mobile segment dipped from Rs. 390 in the previous year to Rs. 357, although minutes of usage had increased from 478 per user a month to 507. Mobile services contributed 82 per cent of the company’s revenues.

Mr. Kapoor said “With 70 per cent STD customers in India using less than 5 minutes a month on STD calls and 80 per cent mobile customers not using their phones while roaming, we have a compelling customer proposition and this will drive growth and usage in the Indian telecom industry.”


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