TDSAT declines stay on tariff for calls to BSNL, MTNL networks

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2006, 06:11am hrs
Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Wednesday declined to grant a stay on regulator Trais order asking private mobile operators to stop levying higher tariffs for calls made to BSNL and MTNL networks in some telecom circles.

Rejecting a petition filed by Cellular Operators Association of India(COAI) seeking a stay on Trais order, TDSAT chairman N Santosh Hegde said an interim order at this stage of the case was not proper.However, he admitted COAIs plea to make MTNL a party to the dispute on the ground that the telecom PSU would be a major beneficiary once the new order was implemented.

On March 20, the tribunal had issued a notice to state-owned BSNL asking it to be a third party in the dispute. COAI is opposing Trais directive asking private operators not to charge differential tariffs for calls terminating in BSNL network in four states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and UP.

In these four states government has permitted direct connectivity between Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra, Kolkata and West Bengal and similarly between Chennai and rest of Tamil Nadu and two parts of UP (East and West).

The association contends that the higher tariff was a result of absence of direct connectivity to BSNL/MTNL networks and hence calls between their networks had to be routed like STD calls.

COAI now has to remove differential tariffs, which would help BSNLs Cellone customers, who were till now forced to pay more for making calls to COAIs member networks.