Data Access Clicking 40% Inbound Traffic

New Delhi, September 26: | Updated: Sep 27 2002, 05:30am hrs
Only the fittest can survive in the international long distance (ILD) communications market. However, it is the youngest who seem to be thriving. Within about two months of the launch of ILD operations, Data Access claims to have captured over 40 per cent share of the inbound international call traffic.

The average daily incoming traffic for India is about 10 million minutes a day. Data Access is delivering about 3 million minutes to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and about 1.25 million minutes to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the managing director of Data Access, Siddharth Ray, told eFE.

That competition would chip away at the Tata-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), the erstwhile monopoly ILD carrier, was always known. But that it would happen so soon, and so severely, was not.

What is the unique selling proposition of Data Access We offer cheaper rates to overseas carriers (for carrying calls to India) and our circuit quality is better, claimed Mr Ray.

The only other private sector ILD operator Bharti Telesonic declined to share traffic volumes. It is too early to comment on traffic volumes. We have recently launched service, chief executive officer of the company N Arjun said.

Meanwhile, the outbound call traffic of BSNL and MTNL continues to be carried by VSNL, which is the preferred carrier for these government-owned companies.

However, as reported by eFE Thursday, BSNL has been testing the networks of Bharti and Data Access for outbound traffic. We have been carrying 50,000 minutes a day of outbound traffic from BSNL, for a week or so, Mr Ray said.

The testing of outbound traffic has been necessitated by the possible snapping of links of BSNL/MTNL with VSNL. Its preferred carrier status is threatened by its professed inability (some say unwillingness) to match revenue-share rates offered by competitors Data Access and Bharti Telesonic.

VSNL, in which the government still retains a 26 per cent stake, claims that it would be lurched into a financial crisis were it to match the rates of competitors.

As per the revenue-share arrangement (interconnect agreement), BSNL/MTNL get an average of Rs 7.20 per minute from Data Access and Bharti for terminating incoming international calls. VSNL however wants to part with no more than Rs 4 per minute.

The average tariff for an outgoing international call is Rs 21 per minute. As per the revenue-share arrangement (the interconnect agreement) Bharti and Data Access get to keep about Rs 9 from an outgoing call on their network while BSNL gets Rs 12. VSNL, in contrast, wants to retain Rs 13.80 per minute, leaving BSNL with only Rs 7.20, sources informed.