BSNL wants cut in ADC but no cut in revenue

New Delhi | Updated: Nov 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is in favour of reduction in access deficit charges (ADC), according to a company official. But theres a rider. The telecom PSU insists that the total revenue that it gets from ADC must not decrease. For instance, with the increase in the number of cellphone users over a period of time, the impact of ADC could be spread out. In such a scenario, even with lower ADC, the total revenue from it could remain steady.

We support the reduction in ADC but we want an assurance (from the government) that the total revenue will not change. The ADC revenue amount is currently estimated to be over Rs 5,000 crore, a senior BSNL official told FE.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman Pradip Baijal has already pointed out that in the next two to three weeks, a revised ADC would be announced.

The minister had also earlier indicated that the ADC would be reduced and we are working on it. As announced earlier, the ADC might come down to zero in the next two-and-a-half years, Mr Baijal told FE.

Mr Baijal added that the ADC was bound to reduce with the rise in the number of minutes and average revenue per user (Arpu). The total number of telephone users is currently 80 million, out of which 45 million are mobile subscribers. The total number of telephone users till about a year ago was only 50 million.

The five members of Trai would take a call on the ADC order soon, Mr Baijal said.

Meanwhile, private telecom operators are pushing for elimination of ADC. They claim that customers would benefit once the the charge is removed.

Trai had also proposed that a reduction in ADC would lead to lower charges on long-distance calls and would help in curbing the grey market.

Private operators are opposed to paying the charges on domestic calls on the ground that BSNL was misusing the money collected.

Trai imposed a levy in the form of ADC on national and international calls to subsidise rural telephony.