Chennai, Feb 15: Telephone tariffs in the country will hit a new low in the next five to seven years, Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A Raja said today.
''Calls will be as low as 10 to 20 paise per minute. A time will also come when the voice would become free with only data transfer charges,'' he told newspersons on the sidelines of a function organised by IIT Madras, here. Mr Raja said licences for telecom companies that were issued the 'Letters of Intent' for starting telecom operations by DOT, will be given to them in the next 15 days. He pointed out that the department has asked the Finance Minister to consider raising the spectrum fee in the budget.
To a question on defence vacating spectrum, he said the PMO committee will be meeting in the next one week to decide on the issue. The Minister said the telecom operators in the country were not willing to use new technology and also not ready to invest in creating new infrastructure.
Mr Raja said while the increasing size of Indian telecom market has encouraged most of the global telecom players to set up their manufacturing facilities in the country, there was certainly a lot of scope to adopt the technology and undertake further indigenous value-addition to meet the day-to-day needs of the common man and develop India specific requirements.
''Currently we are the fastest growing telecom sector in the world adding more than seven million subscribers every month on sustained basis and have already crossed 275 million subscribers mark,'' he claimed.