TRAI cuts telecoms charges, call tariffs may fall

NEW DELHI Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:35am IST

An Indian man talks on a mobile phone as he carries his belongings over his shoulders near a hoarding promoting mobile telephones in New Delhi in this January 20, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/B Mathur  AH/TW

An Indian man talks on a mobile phone as he carries his belongings over his shoulders near a hoarding promoting mobile telephones in New Delhi in this January 20, 2004 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur AH/TW

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India will from April 1 cut by a third the termination charge firms pay each other for domestic calls while increasing the rate for incoming international calls, pressuring firms to lower call tariffs.

TRAI said in a statement telecom companies will pay a termination charge of 20 paise (less than half a US cent) per minute, compared with 30 paise at present.

India has 11 telecoms firms providing fixed-line and mobile services. The firm from which a call originates pays a termination charge to the called network.

International calls made to India will attract a termination charge of 40 paise per minute from April 1, higher than 30 paise a minute now, the TRAI said.

"The Authority expects that the service providers would pass on this benefit in the form of lower tariff for outgoing international calls," it said in the statement.

The regulator said termination charges for third-generation (3G) voice calls would be the same as those for 2G calls.

In India, only state-run telecoms Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam have started 3G services. Others are waiting for an auction of 3G spectrum, to be conducted later this year.

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