New Delhi: Public sector telecom service provider Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) on Wednesday received international long distance licence, a development which could further lower international subscriber dialling, or ISD, rates as MTNL is gearing up to carry its own traffic in the near future.
A senior official, who did not wish to be identified, said MTNL signed the licence agreement with the department of telecom on Wednesday and that it would now focus on carrying its own international long distance (ILD) traffic.
MTNL is currently routing most of its ISD traffic through Tata Communications Ltd (formerly Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd).
At present, mobile ISD rates to the US, Europe, Gulf and Africa range between Rs6.40 and Rs9.20 per minute; from the landline, the average rate is Rs5.99 per minute to the US.
With its own network coming up, the official said, MTNL’s ISD carriage cost would fall significantly. This would cut down the company’s operational cost.
The ISD segment, which already has players such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Tata Communications and Bharti Airtel Ltd, will see some more competition with the entry of MTNL.
MTNL is also working on an undersea cable project to carry its own ISD traffic. The cable aims to connect India to Singapore andMalaysia and would be used primarily for carrying voice and data traffic from India to these countries. It would also enable telecom firms from these countries to carry their traffic to other nations.