Telcos to challenge DoT order in Supreme Court

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: IndiaÂ’s fledgling fixed line telecom operators are planning to approach the Supreme Court against a Department of telecommunication (DoT) order reclassifying fixed wireless phone services as limited mobile services.

Its immediate effect: fixed line operators will be required to pay access deficit charge (ADC) to the DoT, which will increase local tariff from Rs 1.20 to Rs 2.10 for a three-minute call, business daily the Economic Times has reported.

Reliance, Tata Teleservices, MTNL, BSNL, HFCL and Shyam Telelink offer fixed wireless services. There are over 6 million users of fixed wireless terminal services offered by private companies. Under this service, a subscriber is given fixed line phone on wireless. Cellular operators had complained to the DoT that subscribers are using it as limited mobile phones.

Sources said some of the fixed line operators have informed the DoT officials that they will approach the SC against their decision, as it will harm their business plans. Moreover, this will increase tariff for consumers, the paper said.

One of the affects of the DoT decision will be that there will be a huge additional payout by private operators to their main competitor BSNL. According to estimates, by treating the fixed wireless phones as limited mobile phones, BSNL will receive an additional Rs 130 billion towards ADC collections. This is about 25 percent of the total ADC.

For consumers, the main impact of the DoT directive will be that a tariff of 40 paise per minute (or Rs 1.20 for a three-minute call) will become 70 paise per minute (or Rs 2.10 for a three-minute call).

In August, telecom operators provided 260,000 telephone connections using wireless technology, while there was negative growth in the wireline telephone connections in the country, the paper added.

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