DoT issues 22 licences, tariffs to dip further

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New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) Mobile phone tariffs are expected to nosedive with the government today granting 22 new licences to telecom players, including Idea Cellular and Unitech for Unified Access Services (UAS) in the country.

These players will now roll out their services after procuring the necessary spectrum, sources said.

Realty major Unitech Developers recieved the licenses for 12 circles, and Datacomm bagged license for two circles, while Birlas-owned Idea Cellular got licenses for eight circles.

A total of 120 licenses would be distributed among nine companies, including Unitech, Spice, Shyam Telelink and others that were issued Letters of Intent on January 10, this year.

This move will increase competition in the GSM segment and will push the tariffs further down.

The tariffs, which were highest in the world four years back, have now dipped to being among the lowest as a result of rapid growth in telephones in the country.

The National Long Distance (NLD) tariffs that ranged between Rs 1.20 and Rs 4.80 per minute in 2003 for different distances are now as low as Re one per minute.

Similarly, tariffs for International Long Distance (ILD) have shown a significant decline. For instance tariffs rates for an ILD call were Rs 7.20 per minute from the UK, Rs 9.60 per minute for Europe (other than the UK), to the US and Canada and Rs 24 per minute for some of the West Asian countries in 2003.

From November 1, 2006 the tariffs have declined to Rs six per minute for the UK, the US and Canada and Rs eight per minute for Eurpe (other than the UK) and West Asian countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman and Qatar.

UNI RT/MP PBB KN1937

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