MTNL for deregulation of carriage cost in NLD calls

New Delhi, Nov 14 | Updated: Nov 15 2005, 08:03am hrs
Telecom PSU MTNL will soon approach Trai to deregulate carriage cost component under the interconnect usage charges in national long distance tariffs, which would pave the way for slashing STD tariffs between Delhi and Mumbai.

"Trai has to bring out a circular putting the Rs 1.10 ceiling on the fixed carriage cost portion of the iuc charges on forbearance (deregulation) to enable the nld tariffs to come down. We will write to trai shortly to issue a circular allowing forbearnce in the carriage cost", MTNL cmd RSP Sinha told PTI.

Even as Mr Sinha did not comment on the exact reduction that can be expected following the reduction in revenue share to 6%, he said any reduction in the carriage charges would be passed on to the customers. The current std rate of MTNL from Delhi-Mumbai is Rs 2.40 a minute.

At present, carriage charges are paid by the access providers to the nld operators to carry the traffic. Trai issued interconnection usage charges regulation on october 29, 2003 wherein it had specified cost-based carriage charges ranging from Rs 0.20 to Rs 1.10 saying: "forbearance for carriage charge for long distance calls will be introduced once carrier selection by customer is implemented." When contacted D P S Seth, member, Trai said: "some preparations will have to be made and before January next year we hope to have those preparations ready". The licence fee cut takes effect from January 1, 2006.

Officials said Trai is currently examining the issue suo motu as interconnect usage charges are involved while deciding anything on the carriage cost. It cannot be done just straightaway. The nld tariffs are examined for their consistency with iuc regulation on overall basis. As per current iuc regime, the retail tariff should be equal to or higher than the sum of iuc charges payable for origination, carriage and termination (oct) of a call.