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Mobile tariffs to lower further in 2009?
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As per reports in Economic Times, come 2009, telecom tariffs are set to fall significantly! Sector regulator TRAI on Wednesday set the ball rolling for lower tariffs by seeking the industry's views on reducing the interconnect charges (IUC).

Since IUC charges constitute a significant amount of the call charges, any reduction in this will reflect in a direct fall in tariffs. A reduction in IUC tariffs coupled with increased competition with the entry of several new players could lead to local call tariffs being as low as 10 paise per minute and STD at about 25-35 paise per minute by 2010.

Inetrconnect Usage Charges are those charges that are payable by one telecom operator to the others for use of their networks either for origination, termination or carriage of a call. Inter operator calls constitute a major part of the total calls handled by the telecommunications network. These charges are important as they can transfer network costs between operators and thus affect their relative scale and prosperity.

The current regime is as follows:

Mobile termination charge ranges from Rs 0.13 to Rs 0.30 per minute

Fixed termination charge varies from Rs 0.19 to Rs 0.28 minute

Average Carriage Charges per minute after considering the cost in respect of all NLDOs ranges from Rs 0.16 to Rs 0.72 per minute

These charges were fixed way back in 2002-03 and have not been reviewed since then, even as the overall call tariffs have by over 300% during the same time period.

The regulator will announce a reduction in IUC charges after it receives inputs from the industry.

In addition to lower tariffs, a reduction in IUC charges will also enable several of the new players who were granted telecom licences earlier this year to reduce their operational costs when they launch services. New entrants and some of the existing operators have been demanding a reduction in IUC tariffs for a long time.
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