We can now expect two possible developments. The government-owned MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd) and BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) are threatening to reduce the pulse rate and increase rentals at the lowest end of the spectrum to offset their inability to cope with changing telecom technology and reduced costs. If Trai decides to force fixed line operators to pay access charges, these would only increase the cost of fixed line to mobile costs to the extent of the charge. How badly would this affect the average telecom consumer Startling as the statistics may sound, well over half of the Indian telephone users ensure that their bills are limited to the monthly rental charges. While the so-called telecom revolution is limited to the creamy layer of users, the vast majority of users will have to gear up for a big price shock. There is also another aspect to the tariff debate. If fixed line operators are asked to pay an access charge, it amounts to a backdoor entry to the Calling Party Pays (CPP) regime. Consumer advocacy groups had opposed this on the grounds that none of the tariffs charged either by cellphone operators or the fixed line ones are cost- based. In over five years of its existence, Trai has failed to build a databank of telecom providers costs, which would have been the basis of deciding fair interconnect charges. Instead, the trade-off between different segments of industry seems to depend on who can exert more pressure on the telecom minister and hence the Trai. The telecom industry seems to have decided that the rejection of Reliances lower tariff proposals indicates pressure on the government to protect MTNL and BSNL and makes the local call segment a captive market, ripe for a price increase. Such a short-sighted approach will stifle competition and keep local call charges high and will ultimately stunt the growth of the telecom industry and market.