Bharti talks up new NLD deal with cell players

Updated: Jan 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Bharti Telesonic has filed its new inter-connection agreement with Bharti Cellular for national long distance (NLD) calls on the IndiaOne network with the Trai for its approval. While this agreement was filed with Trai on Wednesday, Bharti is still negotiating with other cellular players on the new revenue share arrangement being worked out with them, and hopes to file it with Trai by Friday.

However, the inter-connect agreements are subject to a clearance to be given by the Trai within the next 45 days, failing which the agreement stands automatically approved.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) gave Bharti Telesonic the formal clearances to start its NLD services from January 26.

Last month, Bharti had filed with Trai the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with various cellular companies. However, the MoU became invalid after Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) cut the STD tariff by 62 per cent, and forced Bharti to follow suit.

As per the new inter-connection agreement Bharti is now offering Rs 2 (22 per cent) of the Rs 9 per minute call rate to the company from whose network the call originated as opposed to the Rs 4 (33 per cent) it had decided to give earlier when the rate was Rs 12 per minute. The rest will be retained by Bharti. The company in whose network the call terminates will not be given any revenue share as of now.

Other than the changing the rates, Bharti has also dropped the binding clause allowing cellular operators to switch to a competitor only if offered a rate five per cent less than IndiaOne, since Trai found this clause to be anti-competitive.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the tariffs to be introduced by IndiaOne got de facto clearance from Trai, since as per existing norms, the regulator did not raise any objections to the tariffs within five days of submission by the company.