New Delhi: Domestic and international long-distance call charges are set to fall as the government may accept telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendation to allow using calling-cards to provide the subscriber the option to choose his or her operator.
Introducing calling-cards for making STD and ISD calls is the best alternative to the carrier selection code (choice of operators) as this would save cost, which can be spent on upgrading the networks of existing operators.
Using calling-cards will increase competition in the long-distance segment and in turn will benefit over 370 million subscribers, telecom analysts said, adding this may bring down international calling-charges by up to 70%.
In its recommendations submitted last year, TRAI had said that considering implementation issues like estimating and sharing network setup/upgrade cost by long-distance operators, implementing Carrier Selection may not be justified in the present scenario and consumers will be better served if the cost is spent on developing next-generation telecom infrastructure.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) had constituted a committee of senior officials and those from its technical wing Telecom Engineering Consultant (TEC), and has forwarded its report to the Telecom Commission for approval.
The Telecom Commission is meeting on Monday to consider the report, sources said, adding the committee has recommended introducing long-distance calling-cards for subscribers to select carriers.
Long-distance calls will be allowed from both basic and mobile phones.
In India there are 23 domestic long-distance and 18 international long-distance service providers, who will benefit from the move.
The DoT committee has recognised that calling-cards issued by the STD/ISD operators offer customers the choice of making calls from any access network and yet have the calls routed through the network of their choice.
It also observed that out of three possible modes of carrier selection -- call-by-call section (CS), Carrier Pre-Selection (CPS) and calling-cards -- the first one offers the maximum flexibility and convenience to the consumer.
However, as the cost of introducing it is considered unjustified at present vis-a-vis the monetary benefits likely to accrue to the customer, the committee has recommended that the option of introducing the call-by-call carrier selection may be considered at an appropriate time in future.