BSNL to cut STD rates to Re 1 next week

Written by Rishi Raj | New Delhi, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2008, 06:02am hrs
Come June and the countrys largest telecom service provider, the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will start offering the lowest STD rates, between Re 1 and Re1.20 per minute. In fact, for some special plans, the rates would drop to a low of 70-80 paise per minute. The current STD rate is Rs 2.40 per minute.

The BSNL rate cut would complete the tariff reduction process started by Bharti Airtel last month and followed up by Vodafone Essar. While Bharti slashed the STD rates to Re 1.50 per minute Vodafone had cut it to Re 1.30 per minute.

An advantage of the BSNL scheme is that the new rate would be applicable to landline phones also. According to the plan, STD calls on BSNLs own network would be at Re 1 per minute while calls on other networks would be at Re 1.20 per minute. Landline STD calls on all networks would be at Re 1.20 per minute because here the system cannot distinguish between the networks.

The scheme would be applicable to pre-paid as well as post-paid schemes. Lifetime schemes, however, would attract a tariff of Re 1.50 per minute. BSNL officials said with the new STD rates, to be effective from either June 1 or 5, BSNL tariffs would continue to be the lowest.

BSNL has a GSM mobile subscriber base of 36.68 million while its landline user base consists of about 31 million, making it the largest telecom company by gross subscriber base. In the GSM mobile space it ranks third after Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar.

The latest round of tariff war started initiated when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India removed the access deficit charge (ADC) on STD calls from April 1. The companies were quick to pass on the benefits to the consumers.