When you make a STD call to a number outside your telecom circle, your network operator is required to transfer your call to an operator which has National long distance (NLD) telephony license, who in turn transfers your call to the recipient network in another circle. The NLD operator charges a carriage fee to the network on which the call originates for carrying it over the long distance. This leads to STD calls being costlier than local calls.
Telecom regulatory authority of India has reduced the ceiling price for the call carriage that can be charged by National long distance telephony operators by 50%. Initially, this charge was varied between 9p being the minimum and 65p being the maximum, depending on the distance and the remoteness of the location to be connected. With the new tariff structure, the ceiling price has been reduced from 65p to 35p irrespective of the distance. TRAI explained saying “On an average it costs 21 paise to carry long-distance calls, for remote areas the cost went up to 31 paise, and factoring in a 10% markup, the final rate was set at 35 paise.”
Earlier we shared with you how TRAI had slashed the interconnection charges between mobile operators by 30% and how the interconnection charges for landlines had been completely abolished. This move is a step in the same direction, it aims at regularising the voice calling tariffs for STD much the same way as the initial move aims at regularising the local call tariffs. But the burning question still prevails, will this benefit be passed on to the end user in the form of lowered call tariffs?
We believe TRAI is trying to fade the distinction between the various telecom circles and bringing the nation closer. In the 6th amendment of the mobile number portability regulation, it passed PAN India MNP thus breaking the geographic boundaries. With the lowering of NLD carriage charges, it is aiming at a unified tariff regime for local and STD calling. The NTP 2012 also has provision for the abolition of national roaming and implementation of roaming like home Pan India, which will be implemented, in the long run. We believe operators will play the wait and watch the game if other operators lower call tariffs they will follow the trend to stay in the competition.
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