Hutch Hots Up Cell Market In Delhi

New Delhi: | Updated: Jul 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
The race for subscribers in the country’s largest cellular market — Delhi — is hotting up. Close on the heels of its “talk more, pay less” campaign, Hutch Monday announced the city state’s first “flat fee, unlimited calls” offer.

Under the “Talk Max” plan, which is especially designed for heavy users, customers can pay a monthly subscription fee of Rs 1,900 make and receive unlimited calls without any airtime charge. They would however have to pay a monthly rental of Rs 295 in addition to Rs 1,900.

To call a landline subscriber, customers would also have to pay the access charge of Rs 1.20 for three minutes.

Hutch also announced another tariff plan — Talk Big — which offers free incoming calls. Outgoing calls are charged at 50 paisa for 30 seconds. The monthly rental under this plan is Rs 295 while the monthly subscription fee is Rs 1,500. In addition, the plan offers free airtime for outgoing calls for three local numbers, three domestic long distance (STD) cellular numbers and three international cellular numbers.

These plans, which have already been filed with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, will be applicable in a couple of weeks, a statement from Hutch said.

Responding to the tariff packages, Bharti Cellular, the largest service provider in the Delhi market, announced that it would also offer similar tariff packages. “Competition has replicated our Mumbai tariff plans in Delhi. We will price-protect our customers (and offer similar packages),” Bharti’s Delhi chief executive officer, Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, told eFE.

However, he clarified that only a small percentage of subscribers would fall in the high-user category, a segment to which these tariffs are targeted. “They would be less than double figures (in percent terms),” he said.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, the third service provider in Delhi is also slated to announce some new tariff plans shortly, to take on the competition. Idea Cellular (formerly Birla-Tata-AT&T), slated to be the fourth cellular operator in the city, plans to launch service by September.

Delhi, which had 1.25 million subscribers at the end of June 2002, accounts for almost a fifth of the total cellular subscriber base of 7.34 million.