Cellular News
Date: 28/3/2003 
TRAI ruled out the revision of tariffs announced earlier 
TRAI made it clear that there was no possibility of revision telecom tariffs announced on January 24th this year and also that it is not rethinking the interconnect usage charge policy. The postponement by one month is to ensure that all operators could get the benefit. 
Date: 28/3/2003 
Escotel to launch operations in three new circles 
Escotel plans to launch operations in three new circles of UP (East), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh with an investment of $150m out of which $75m will comprise the euity portion, considering a debt-equity ratio of 1:1. 
Date: 28/3/2003 
Commercial services of Reliance IndiaMobile put off by one month 
Reliance Infocomm Ltd. announced that the commercial services of Reliance IndiaMobile will begin from 1st May now instead of ist April as announced earlier. This is due to the delay in implementing interconnect agreements with other cellular and basic service providers. 
Date: 28/3/2003 
IDEA Cellular to formalise Rs.400 crore loan 
IDEA Cellular Ltd. is formalising a Rs.400 crore, 9 year long term loan  with a consortium of banks and financial institutions led by IDBI to finance capacity expansion across its five circle cellular footprint in the current financial year.  
Date: 27/3/2003 
Implementation of new phone tariffs postponed 
The TRAI has postponed the implementation of new telecom tariffs and the crucial interconnect usage charge settlement issue to May 1st 2003 which was earlier scheduled for 1st April since the issues could not be settled between basic and cellular operators.
Date: 26/3/2003 
Four cellular operators form an alliance by the name 'MobileFirst' 
Four cellular operators BPL Mobile, Escotel, RPG Cellular and Spice Telecom have formed an alliance by the name 'Mobile First' 
which will offer special tariff for national and international calls, Roaming and provide value added services like mobile internet and mobile payments to users across their combined footprint. The alliance has 3 million subscribers in over 700 cities. The members would also pool in their resources for brand building exercise etc. The alliance is also negociating with other operators for strategic tie-ups where its members don't have services.
Date: 13/3/2003 
Limited mobility issue back with TDSAT 
In a meeting today Telecom ministry headed by Mr. Arun Sourie decided to hand over the 'limited mobility' issue back to the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appelate Tribunal (TDSAT). The TDSAT hearing will begin from March 17th. 
Date: 12/3/2003 
5.93 lakh cellular subscribers added last month 
5.93 lakh cellular subscribers were added in Feb increasing the total cellular subscribers base in India to 117.56 lakh a rise of 5.31% although the addition is significantly lower than the average of 6.75 lakh in last quarter of 2002. BSNL added around 3 Lakh subscribers while its contribution in Jan was 4.75 lakh.  
Date: 12/3/2003 
Motorola's i.250 technology completely developed in India 
Motorola is in advanced stage of negociations with few Indian firms to introduce its cellular phones based on i.250 platform which is a 2.5G GSM GPRS platform that enables voice-centric or voice data applications. Developed completely in Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector Design Centre has already been launched in China. 
Date: 28/2/2003 
MTNL's new targets 
Shifting the focus from fixed line to wireless communications MTNL has set the new targets of adding 400,000 cellular users and an equal number of limited mobility subscribers by March 2004. Presently MTNL has around 260,000 cellular users, 55,000 limited mobility subscribers and 4.5 million fixed-line subscribers in Delhi and Mumbai. The company has also announced free incoming calls on its GSM services from March 1st. 
Date: 27/2/2003 
FDI cap hiked to 74% 
Group of Ministers (GoM) has approved the hike of FDI cap in telecom services from 49% to 74% which is being looked at as a major boon to major private operators like  Bharti, Hutchison, BPL and Escotel who will now be able to infuse much more funds to effectively take on the competetion from limited mobility operators Reliance Infocomm and Tata Teleservices Ltd.  
Date: 27/2/2003 
Telecom growth driven by mobile connections 
According to the Economic Survey presented in Parliament, 19 lakh new fixedline connections were added in the first nine months of the current financial year, against 26 lakh in the corresponding period last year. On the other hand mobile telephone connections rose by 73.7% to 33 lakh against 19 lakh last year. The share of cellular connections during the said period stood at 63%, against 43% in the corresponding period last year. Teledensity stood at 4.48 telephones per thousand people on December 31, 2002, and has been growing at the compound average growth rate of 22.3%. The telecommunication sector has so far attracted foreign direct investment, FDI, of Rs 56,226 crore and actual inflows of Rs 9,528 crore. The Planning Commission has set the FDI target of $2.5 billion in the sector.  
Date: 26/2/2003 
IndiaMobile connections being financed by Reliance Capital 
The non-banking finance company of the Reliance group Reliance Capital is financing Reliance IndiaMobile connections which in turn is getting financed by ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. Under the Dhirubhai Ambani Pioneer Offer, which is open until March 31, customers pay Rs.3,000 upfront and then Rs. 600 per month for the next 36 months. The mobile handset which costs Rs.10,500 is given free under this scheme.  
Date: 26/2/2003 
BPL Mobile offers free incoming 
BPL mobile has announced free incoming on mots and mots Roamfree. This will be applicable for all new purchases of mots and mots Roamfree with effect from February 26. The existing mots and mots Roamfree subscribers can avail this facility by paying a one-time fee of Rs. 50. This is a special offer valid till March 31st.  
Date: 25/2/2003 
Manipur will have mobile phones soon 
Earlier the Union home ministry was against introducing cellular and WLL phone facilities in the entire North Eastern region arguing that militant outfits operating there would take advantage of them. But with the Centre finally lifting the restrictions in September last year, the telecom department there is working overtime to ensure that the facilities are provided soon. It is the Manipur division of BSNL that will start issuing WLL phones to the public by next month. Initially eight stations would be set up for WLL facilities at Imphal, Thoubal, Kakching, Chandel, Ukhrul, Moreh, Bishnupur and Churachandpur. 
Date: 23/2/2003 
No reduction in customs duty on mobile handsets in the current budget 
There is no reduction in the customs duty on cellular phones in the current Budget. Cellular phones attract a custom duty of 10% and a special additional duty (SAdD) of 4% which makes the total duty incidence of 14.4%. Since cellular phones share a tariff line for wireless equipment, they are among the list of IT-related goods on which duty has to be eliminated by 2005 as per WTO commitment hence the government has maintained a status-quo this year. According to industry analysts slashing of tariffs and increased competetion would still push down the prices of mobile handsets.
Date: 23/2/2003 
Pradip Baijal new chairman of TRAI 
Pradip Baijal who is retiring as disinvestment secretary on 28th Feb. will be the new chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The outgoing chairman is M. S. Verma whose tenure is ending on March 23rd. DPS Seth who was member (services) of telecom commission will take over as the new member (technology) of TRAI.
Date: 21/2/2003 
Indian Cellular Association's appeal 
ICA (Indian Cellular Association) an association of mobile handset manufacturers is urging the government to bring down the basic customs duty to 5% from the existing level of 10% and abolish the special additional duty of 4%. It has also asked for a uniform sales tax across all states to bring down the price of mobile phones purchased from the authorised outlets. The association has also sought removal of cellular mobile handsets from the 1/6 income-tax eligibility definition and abolish revenue share on telecom operators for mobile handset sales and retain countervailing duty (CVD) at 0%.
Date: 21/2/2003 
Hutchison & Essar to bring licences under single company 
Cellular licences held by different Hutch and Essar group companies will be transferred to a single Hutchison-Essar merged entity. This is the result of the latest DoT's decesion to allow transfer of cellular licences between companies. The exercise will consolidate the licences held by Hutchison Max Telecom (Mumbai), Hutchison-Essar Telecom (Delhi), Hutchison-Essar South (Chennai, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab), Hutchison Telecom East (Kolkata) and Fascel (Gujarat). This may include licences held by Aircel Digilink ( Rajasthan, Haryana & U.P-East) which is 100% Essar group company. The consolidation will give the company much higher enterprise valuation and will facilitate their IPO ambition.
Date: 20/2/2003 
Free incoming on BSNL's 'Cellone' 
All incoming calls on BSNL's network from all operators whether fixed line, WLL or Cellular will be free with immediate effect. This is applicable for all BSNL's post-paid and pre-paid subscribers. BSNL has 12.6 lakh GSM subscribers in India.
Date: 19/2/2003 
Motorola bags Tata Tele contract 
Motorola has bagged $43 million contract from Tata Teleservices for deployment of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Goa. The installation will be completed by May 2003. 
Date: 19/2/2003 
Telecom licences can be sold 
The Telecom commission has approved that the Telecom licences can be sold now subject to certain conditions. This will facilitate the mergers and demergers of telecom companies in a big way and will help in the consolidation of the Industry.
Date: 19/2/2003 
Free incoming on IDEA 
From 23rd Feb. onwards all new pre-paid and post-paid subscribers of IDEA Cellular will enjoy all incoming calls free till March 31st.this year. Existing IDEA post-paid users can get this facility by paying Rs.300 one time charge while the pre-paid users can pay Rs.75 one time to get the free incoming.
Date: 18/2/2003 
Cellular operators against Reliance's MRS scheme 
In the very first meeting of the industry panel set up by communications minister Arun Shourie for resolving the issues between GSM and WLL operators, GSM operators strongly opposed Reliance's Multiple Registration Scheme ( MRS ). Under the Basic Telecom licence a WLL subscriber can roam within a Short Distance Calling Area ( SDCA ). Under its MRS scheme Reliance plans to register a subscriber in a number of SDCAs with different numbers where his calls will be automatically forwarded. Thus roaming becomes call forwarding which is in full compliance its licence conditions legally.
Date: 18/2/2003 
GSM handsets prices may get reduced by 20% in March 
There can be a reduction of more than 20% in the prices of the entry level GSM handsets next month as there is a possibility of reduction in the custum duty in the budget and also the GSM vendors are preparing for the competetion from CDMA cellphones with the launce of Reliance's WILL services.
Date: 17/2/2003 
Airtel begins free incoming in three states 
Airtel introduced free incoming from any phone for its post-paid as well as pre-paid subscribers in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh at no additional charge. The calls from landline including BSNL and other private operators, WiLL phones including Reliance and cellular phones of any operator would be free.
Date: 17/2/2003 
TRAI is examining Reliance's reply 
TDSAT refused to give an interim order against Reliance's proposed roaming facility on WiLL phones and adjourned the hearing for Feb.24th. stating that TRAI is examining Reliance's reply in this regard.
Date: 17/2/2003 
Arun Shourie forms a group to sort out Telecom issues 
The Communications and IT minister Mr. Arun Shourie constituted a group to sort out issues between Cellular and Basic telecom services operators. In their first meeting they discussed the issues concerning  WiLL services where some more information is desired. The group will meet again on 21st for further deliberations.
Date: 13/2/2003 
Cellular operators added 6.8 lakh subscribers 
Cellular operators added 6.8 lakh subscribers last month out of which 4.7 lakh were added by BSNL alone. The growth in metros was significantly low, the most probable reason is supposed to be that the customers are waiting for the limited mobile services to start before making a decision.
Date: 13/2/2003 
Intel enters cellphone chips business 
Intel Corporation is in talks with world's top handset manufacturing companies like Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, SonyEricsson and Siemens about incorporating its chips into their future handsets. The new chips combine central processors, applications processing and flash memory on a single chip which not only standardize these functions but also saves battery power. These chips will enable high-speed data transmission facilitating online games and videoconferencing.
Date: 13/2/2003 
Free incoming increased cell to cell traffic by 20% 
Incoming calls between cellular phones were made free by all private cellular operators from 1st Feb.2003. Since then cell-to-cell traffic has increased by 20% according to the cellular operators.
Date: 13/2/2003 
MTNL's pre-paid cards 'Trump' available again 
The distribution of MTNL's pre-paid card 'Trump' was stopped when its subscribers base hit the network capacity of 2.5 lakh subscribers in Sept. 2002. The company is now  again offering these cards from Feb.3 in Mumbai and Feb.13th in Delhi. MTNL is increasing its network capacity to eight lakh lines. It is adding subscribers at the rate of 1200 per day in Mumbai and 1100 per day in Delhi for its pre-paid cards.
Date: 12/2/2003 
Airtel launches GPRS and full roaming on pre-paid cards 
Airtel launched its GPRS services ( General Packet Radio Services) which will support MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services). This will enable users to exchange pictures, images, sound clips etc. at a cost of Rs.600 per month. The company also offers 'mobile office', a GPRS application that facilitates users to access e-mails and connect to the net. Now Airtel's pre-paid card 'Magic' users will be able to utilise full two-way roaming that is both receive and make roaming calls.
Date: 11/2/2003 
TRAI asked Reliance to clarify on roaming 
Offering WLL services outside the local call area is prohibited. TRAI has asked Reliance Infocomm to explain their position in this regard. 
Date: 10/2/2003 
BSNL rejects Reliance's zero access proposal 
BSNL has rejected Reliance Infocomm's 'zero access charges' proposal based on 'bill & keep' formula which is based on the assumption that both networks will generate same traffic volumes. This would have helped Reliance to keep its outgoing WLL tariff at 40 paise/min but BSNL would have lost huge amounts. Although Reliance proposal is no longer relevant in the new intercinnect order issued by TRAI where all operators will have to pay for terminating calls on other networks.
Date: 10/2/2003 
COAI moved TDSAT against WiLL operators 
Provoked by recent advertisements by Reliance Infocomm to offer roaming across 673 cities and alleged WiLL coverage by Tata Teleservices outside Delhi Short Distance Charging Area (SDCA), Cellular Opertaors Association of India COAI moved TDSAT pointing towards the violation of licence conditions and judicial orders of the tribunal which restricts WiLL operators to local call area and prohibit roaming.
Date: 7/2/2003 
Telecom services may attract sales tax too 
In a significant judgement, Supreme Court has ruled that telecom is a sale of goods as well as services, hence telecom companies should also pay a sales tax in addition to the service tax.
Date: 5/2/2003 
Hutch buys Escotel's Punjab circle 
Hutchison Telecommunications bought out Punjab cellular licence from Escorts Ltd. in an all cash deal of less than Rs.151 crore. 
The deal is done through Hutchison-Essar South Ltd., the company's corporate vehicle holding cellular licences in Kaknataka, Andhra Pradesh and Chennai.
Date: 5/2/2003 
BPL Mobile cuts tariff to match Reliance's offer 
BPL Mobile cuts tariff on post-paid as well as pre-paid services to bring it close to 40 paise/min offered by Reliance. Under its wirefree 699 plan, BPL is offering incoming and outgoing calls at the rate of 49 paise/min at a monthly rental of Rs.699 which also includes 200 min of free outgoing calls, 50 free SMS, 20% discount on ISD calls and free incoming from mobile phones. Itemised bill, CLIP and voice mail services are free for two months. For Rs.349 and Rs.499 monthly rentals, outgoing calls will be charged Rs.1.99/min and Rs.0.99/min respectively at a pulse rate of 60 secs. These tariffs are applicable for Mumbai and Maharashtra circles.
Date: 4/2/2003 
Bharti TeleVentures raised Rs.1,500 crore for expansion 
Bharti TeleVentures has raised Rs.1,500 crore through a foreign currency loan for expansion of its cellular operations which is the largest overseas  borrowing by any Indian Telecom company. ABN Amro Bank was the lead arranger.
Date: 3/2/2003 
IDEA offers unlimited free incoming & outgoing at Rs.300 less 
IDEA Cellular announced its new tariff plans where one gets unlimited free incoming and outgoing local calls at Rs.1399 which is  
Rs.300 less than its competitors in Delhi. CLIP, voice mail and call divert services are included in the package for two months. The tariff plans announced by the company have more economical options for people who do not want long distannce connection.
Date: 2/2/2003 
Reliance Infocomm's 'zero access charge' proposal 
Reliance Infocomm has proposed all cellular and fixed line operators to join its "zero access charge initiative in the interest of the end-customer."  The proposal is based on 'bill and keep' formula in which there is no settlement of access charges between two operators ( cellular, fixed-line or WLL) at the month end. According to Reliance such a regime can facilitate the most economical option for customers as the access charges are totally waived off.  

But according to industry analysts if Reliance is unable to persuade other operators its outgoing WLL tariff  to cellular and fixed line operators will shoot up by 75% and 125% respectively as under the new interconnect regime Reliance Info will be paying 30 paise/min to terminate calls on cellular networks and 50 paise/min to connect with land-line in such situation it will not be able to keep its rates at 40 paise/min.  

The bill and keep formula is not suitable for the cellular industry as there will be huge  traffic imbalances between WLL and cellular networks initially. The formula can only work if the participating networks generate same traffic volumes ensuring uniform utilisation. 

Date: 1/2/2003 
Cell to cell incoming free from today, Airtel announced four new tariff plans 
Private cellular operators have announced free incoming calls between their networks starting today. Airtel introduced four new tariff plans where mobile to mobile incoming will be free for both post-paid and pre-paid users. The company has merged CLIP charges with monthly rental which would vary from Rs. 349 to Rs.1,699 in different plans. The pulse rate has been increased to 60 secs. 20% discount is being offered on all ISD calls.
Date: 1/2/2003 
Communications ministry may review MTNL, BSNL merger 
Industry analysts are drawing this inference as Arun Shourie said yesterday that he would study the merger proposal. As disinvestment minister he had said last year that MTNL's disinvestment would begin after VSNL is sold off. The arguement in favour was that the merged entity would compete more efficiently with private operators like Reliance and Tata Teleservices. 
Date: 31/1/2003 
Arun Shourie's views about telecom sector 
After taking the charge of Communication and Information Technology ministry, Mr. Arun Shourie said that the government would play the role of an enabler. He said that although competetion is essential in the sector but there should not be any predatory practices that would hurt the corporate balance sheets. He expressed his view that both private and public sector firms should contribute to growth and there should not be restrictions on technology advancements. The minister also said that severe penalties would be imposed on non fulfillment of commitments both by PSUs or private companies but we must learn to pay for services.
Date: 30/1/2003 
Arun Shourie to take charge of Telecom & IT, Pramod Mahajan quits 
In a major cabinet reshuffle Communications and IT Minister Mr. Pramod Mahajan returns to party as general secratary. Arun Shourie gets the charge of Telecom and IT while he retains Divestment. Surprisingly the telecom stocks registered significant gain inspite of the uncertainities. MTNL rose by 16% on NSE, Bharti TeleVentures by 8% and VSNL by 6% while the sensex was down by 30 points. Also in the US, the MTNL ADR  was heavily traded and the price rose by 7.53%.
Date: 27/1/2003 
Hutch launches GPRS 
Hutchison Telecom launched "HutchWorld", its GPRS services( General Packet Radio Services ) across its Indian Networks. The services will be available from February 8th '03 in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka when the Cricket World Cup 2003 will begin. Hutch will stream action replays of daily matches to subscribers' mobile phones in the form of 10 secs videoclips or progressive stills. Hutch has exclusive rights to World Cup content on Mobile phones. GPRS is a wireless broadband service that gives a cellular user an always-on internet connectivity on their mobile phones where they can exchange photos through  MMS ( Multimedia Messaging Service), get full e-mail service from Hotmail and Yahoo! etc. Basic subscription charges for Hutch GPRS service are Rs. 249 per month. MMS will cost Rs. 5 each. Only Rs. 99 will be charged till March as an Introductory offer.  The subscriber must possess a compatible handset. All GPRS compatible handsets do not necessarily support MMS and video. Some recommended handsets are SonyEricsson P800, T68i and Nokia 7650. Hutch is also facilitating finance from Standard Chartered Bank for upgrading to a compatible handset.
Date: 27/1/2003 
Tata's synergies 
Tata Power will not divest its holdings in Tata Teleservices and VSNL immediately and will not make any further investments in telecom sector either. It may consolidate its broadband division with its own telecom mojors. Many synergies are being worked out between their Telecom business and Power business and the company is planning to focus on distribution.
Date: 27/1/2003 
IDEA raising Rs. 96 crore 
IDEA Cellular is raising Rs. 96 crore from overseas through a preference share issue handled by Standard Chartered Bank. This will not change the foreign holding balance in the company since the foreign equity will be well within the prescribed limit of 49%. 
Date: 25/1/2003 
TRAI announces new tariffs 
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced new tariffs according to which all incoming calls on cellular phones whether they are from fixed line, cellular or WLL phones will be free from April 1st. Fixed line monthly rental raised to Rs.280 per month from Rs.250 per month. Call duration reduced to 2 min from 3 min. Free calls reduced to 30 and 50 from 60 and 75 in urban and rural areas respectively. Rs.1.20 will be charged for a 2 min call now instead of present 3 min. Long distance calls upto 50 kms will be treated as local calls. Operators will decide tariff beyond 50 kms subject to ceiling of Rs.8.40 per min.
Date: 23/1/2003 
BSNL is in no hurry to offer free incoming 
BSNL may not offer free incoming soon. BSNL and MTNL are waiting for TRAI release on basic rates before it decides on STD and ISD rates. Till then cell to cell STD rates offered by cellular operators will continue to be cheaper than landline STD rates.
Date: 21/1/2003 
Tata Tele slashes WLL tariff 
Tata Teleservices is now offering a mobile connection and handset for Rs. 2,600. The company has announced two tariff plans one with monthly rental Rs.450 and 190 free outgoing calls and other one with monthly rental Rs.599 with 400 free calls. The STD calls between Tata networks will be charged as local.
Date: 21/1/2003 
All operators to get terminating charges 
TRAI is working out a formula where all telecom players wether GSM, Fixed line or WLL will receive payment for putting through calls received from any other network. WLL or Fixed line subscribers will also pay access charges while calling other networks. This settles the level playing field issue advocated by GSM operators.
Date: 21/1/2003 
Cell to Cell incoming free 
Private cellular operators have announced free incoming calls between their networks. This is a move by GSM service providers to match the tariffs of limited mobility. The new scheme will be fully implemented from 1st Feb.
Date: 19/1/2003 
Cellular operators have lower entry price 
Cellular operators have lower entry barriers as compared to the Reliance India Mobile offer. The cellular operators like Airtel, Hutch and BPL mobile charge an activation fee of Rs.500 plus a refundable security deposit of Rs.1000 from a new subscriber. Reliance India mobile has two options, one is an upfront payment of Rs.21,000 for three years. This includes a non-refundable payment of Rs.3000 and monthly payments of Rs.500 for 36 months. The second options also has a non-refundable security of Rs.3000 and a monthly payment of Rs.600. A CDMA handset of Rs.10,500 is free with both options.Reliance is also charging a refundable deposit of Rs.1000 for those who wish to make local calls only, Rs.2000 for those who wish to make STD calls and Rs.3000 for ISD calls also along with an activation charge of Rs.500.
Date: 18/1/2003 
Cell calls blocked by MTNL 
Cellular phone users were unable to connect to MTNL landlines in Delhi and Mumbai for hours togeather. MTNL is said to have blocked the traffic oweing to the interconnect issue. Although MTNL attributes it to the system overload and technical snag.
Date: 17/1/2003 
GSM service providers to move TDSAT 
GSM cellular service providers  will move Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against TRAI for issuing showcause notice to them. They will seek TDSAT protection against BSNL and MTNL also. The public sector telecom companies have threatened to take action against cellular service providers if they block calls of WLL service providers transiting through BSNL/MTNL.
Date: 15/1/2003 
TRAI's notice 
TRAI issued showcause notice to private cellular operators namely Bharti, Hutch, IDEA and BPL mobile for defying its directive to provide interconnectivity to WLL service providers. They have been asked to reply within 72 hrs. The notice was followed by TRAI directive to GSM operators for immediate interconnectivity with WLL players.
Date: 10/1/2003 
Cellular Subscribers base crosses One Crore mark 
Cellular Subscribers figures touched 1.05 crore at the end of December 2002 which is 7.7% up over previous month. About 7.5 lakh subscribers were added last month out of which 11.5% were added in category B circles like Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP, Rajasthan and West Bengal, category A circles comporising Karnataka, TN, AP, Gujarat and Maharashtra added 8.6% subscribers while the additions in metros were the lowest at 4.4%.
Date: 10/1/2003 
GSM operators not to follow TRAI order 
GSM cellular operators are not willing to comply with TRAI order regarding interconnectivity and termed it as blatant abdiction of regulatory responsibility as they were not even given a chance to explain their position. COAI will approach other authorities including TDSAT against TRAI order.
Date: 9/1/2003 
More offers from GSM cellular operators 
After the reduction in cell-to-cell STD rates GSM cellular operators are now working on reduction in ISD rates and a concept of 'home zone' where users will be charged lower rental and tariff comparable to the one offered by limited mobility players.
Date: 9/1/2003 
TRAI orders Bharti to interconnect 
TRAI has ordered Bharti to interconnect with Tata Indicom network within three days. Tata's have filed a case with TRAI against GSM operators barring their callers in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi which were transited through BSNL & MTNL land-line networks.The GSM operators have been refusing to interconnect with limited mobility networks and want terminating charges for incoming calls on their networks. According to COAI this order amounts to abdication of duty as the matter is before TDSAT.
Date: 7/1/2003 
STD rates slashed by BSNL and MTNL 
Subscribers of BSNL and MTNL mobile phone services will not pay any roaming surcharge while roaming on each other's network. BSNL's CellOne mobile subscribers will now pay Rs.4.80 per minute round the clock for STD calls above 500 km which is down 50%. MTNL will charge Rs.2.90 per minute plus airtime for STD calls above 50 km from its Dolphin subscribers. These rates apply to both cell-to-cell and cell-to-fixed line calls. Similar STD rates will be extended to all fixed line subscribers as well.
Date: 6/1/2003 
Unlimited mobility not allowed for WLL players 
Communications and IT Minister Pramod Mahajan has ruled out allowing unlimited mobility for WLL players. He promised to the cellular operators that under no circumstances will the government allow limited mobility players to offer unlimited mobility. He also said that if a limited mobility player wants to become an unlimited mobility player in the future he would be treated as the fifth cellular licence holder and would have to pay what the fourth cellular licensee has paid making it level playing field. 
Date: 6/1/2003 
Airtel terminates Tata Tele interconnectivity 
Airtel has terminated the interconnectivity with Tata Teleservices (TTSL) in the Andhra Pradesh circle four days ago worsening the tussle between the GSM operators and the basic service providers over the inter-connect issue. Subscribers of both the operators in the state are now unable to talk to each other. While Tata Teleservices terms Airtel's act as illegal and unjustified, Airtel say it is the TTSL's indecisiveness in reaching a re-negotiated agreement that made them to break the interconnectivity. Traffic between Airtel and Tata Teleservices is about 36,000 calls a day, of which one fourth belongs to limited mobility. 
Date: 5/1/2003 
WILL operators ask for government intervention in solving inter connectivity issue 
Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO), the apex body of fixed-line phone companies that also represents the interests of wireless-in-local-loop (WiLL) service providers have sought government intervention in solving inter-connectivity issue between WILL operators and GSM cellular operators. 
Date: 5/1/2003 
Mobile alerts from Federal Bank 
Federal Bank customers can now receive automated alerts on transactions in their accounts no matter where they are. The service allows the customers get the desired information about their account. 
Date: 4/1/2003 
Sales tax on mobile handsets slashed in TN 
Tamil Nadu government has slashed the sales tax on mobile handsets to just four per cent from the earlier 20 per cent on imported sets and 12 per cent on domestically assembled sets striking a major blow to the thriving grey market of cellular phones in the state. 
Date: 3/1/2003 
GSM operators slash mobile-to-mobile STD rates 
In a move to compete with limited mobility services by basic service providers, GSM cellular operators announced a uniform mobile-to-mobile STD rate of Rs 2.99 per minute irrespective of distance (beyond 50 km) and time. The charges for distance up to 50 km will remain unchanged at Rs 1.20 per minute. So far, subscribers were being charged Rs 2.40 for calls up to distance of 200 km, Rs 4.80 for distance up to 500 km and Rs 9 for distance beyond 500 km. The charges were double during the day and single during the night. 
Date: 3/1/2003 
Urgent meeting 
In response to the Reliance Infocom's entry into the telecom market with a bang, nine GSM cellular operators namely AirTel, Hutch, BPL mobile, IDEA Cellular, Escotel, Spice, RPG Cellular, Aircel and Oasis held an urgent meeting in the Capital and decided to roll out sops to retain their subscriber base. They decided to slash STD rates and will be using Bharti's long-distance service 'IndiaOne' for all the STD calls. 
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