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|November 30, 1998||
TRAI proposes steep hike in telephone rentalsSteep hike in rental charges, reduction in number of free calls, lowering of tariff slabs for domestic long-distance calls and uniform rates for local calls are among the proposals of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
These proposals are expected to create a fund for the expansion programmes of the Department of Telecommunication.
He said, as per the recommendations, the bi-monthly rent would be hiked from Rs 100 to Rs 120 in rural areas. The rent in other areas would go up steeply from Rs 150-380 to Rs 320-620.
The number of free calls for two months would be reduced to 120 from the present level of 150 in urban areas and 250 in rural areas.
It is also proposed to do away with the slab system of steadily hiking call rates beyond the free call level and levy a flat rate of Rs 1.30 per three minutes for calls beyond 120.
For long-distance calls, there would be four slabs instead of eight at present. The first slab would be for 0-50 km at the rate of 43 paise per three minutes. The calls would be charged Rs 3.90, Rs 9.75 and Rs 19.50 per three minutes for the slabs 51-200 km, 201-500 km and more than 501 km respectively.
Zutshi said that where the proposed cap rental is above the highest prevailing rental of Rs 190 per month, the proposal reduces it to Rs 160-Rs 250 per month.
This would be applicable only for low callers making up to 60 calls per month.
Regarding rentals for cellular phones, he said it is proposed to hike the monthly rental cap to Rs 600 from the present rental of Rs 156 per month.
As for their call rate, it would be fixed at Rs 6 per minute as against the current level of Rs 16.80 for peak hour and Rs 8.40 per minute.
Regarding pager rentals, monthly rentals would be capped at Rs 300 for alphanumeric and at Rs 175 for numeric varieties as against the present level of Rs 250 for alphanumeric and Rs 150 for numeric, he added.
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