BSNL slashes STD rates by 50%

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New Delhi, June 9 (UNI) In a bonanza to the consumers, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) today slashed its STD rates of landline services by 50 per cent, reflective of the growing competition among telecom service providers.

''We have cut down the STD rates by 50 per cent effective from midnight tomorrow. These rates are now the cheapest in the country,'' BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal told press conference here.

The rates will be cut down to Rs 1.20 per minute from existing Rs 2.40 a minute to all networks in general and 'sulabh' plan, he said.

State-run telecom major also announced a 40-50 per cent reduction in STD charges of cellular services under various plans.

''The intra-circle call charges to BSNL network and inter circle (STD) call charges to all the networks has also been reduced by 50 per cent,'' Mr Goyal said.

He said roaming charges under prepaid and postpaid services have also been revised.

The outgoing calls on roaming will cost Re one from existing Rs 1.40, while the outgoing STD calls will be charged at Rs 1.50 from the present Rs 2.40 per minute.

All incoming calls on roaming will cost Re one from Rs 1.75 per minute.

BSNL had a combined subscriber base of 72.5 million at the end of April, out of 308.5 million telephone connections nationwide.

Earlier, another state-owned telecom service provider --Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL)--has brought down domestic long-distance (STD) rates to Rs 1.20 per minute, from Rs two per minute.

Earlier this year, private telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone had reduced their STD and roaming charges.

The key beneficiary of the competition among public and private sector has been the consumer with domestic and foreign tariffs moving Southwards.

Apart from the public sector companies, the private telecom majors have reduced tariffs.

India has one of the cheapest call rates among the countries of the globe, thanks to the liberalised policies being pursued.

UNI SBA SG RN1659

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