New Delhi: Triggering another price war in the ISD segment, state-run telecom major BSNL has reduced call rates to the US, Canada and the Gulf to Rs1.75 per minute and Rs6.75 per minute, respectively, slightly lower than the rates offered by private firms.
US, Canada and Gulf are the busiest ISD routes from India and with the drop of rates, BSNL hopes to scale up volumes, a senior BSNL official said.
Private players at present offer ISD calls at the rate of Rs1.99 a minute to the US and Rs6.99 a minute for Gulf countries.
BSNL will soon introduce a new STD/ISD calling card, Call Now, that will enable a user can call someone in the US at the rate of Rs1.75 per minute using a card of Rs2,000, which will have a validity of three months.
Call charges in the same card are Rs3.25 a minute to France, Russia, the UK and South-East Asia, Rs5.50 per minute to the rest of Europe and Sri Lanka, and Rs8 a minute to the rest of the world.
Under this plan, local and STD charges are Re1 per minute.
In May, leading private player Bharti Airtel dropped ISD charges to the US and Canada where a Airtel mobile user could call at Rs1.99 per minute with the Airtel STD and ISD Calling Card worth Rs2,245.
Reliance Communications also had cut its rates to the US and Canada to Rs1.99 per minute on its ‘Reliance Global Call Card’ of Rs1,900. The Anil Ambani group company had recently cut call charges to the Gulf to Rs6.99 a minute.
Many mobile service providers, led by Airtel, have also cut the lifetime pre-paid charges to between Rs444 and Rs499. While Airtel slashed its charges to Rs495, Reliance Communications cut its Rs499 plan and Hutch Rs495 plan.
Earlier this month, BSNL, MTNL and Reliance had announced drastic cut in roaming charges, too, under a few plans which makes roaming free in certain hours and charges Re1 (per minute) for both outgoing and incoming calls.