Most telecom operators have rolled out their versions of the OneIndia plan.

Reliance Infocomm was the first one to announce a single tariff for the entire nation, but with a higher monthly rental of Rs 499.

BSNL and MTNL announced their schemes of Re 1 per minute of STD at Rs 299 monthly rental.

Airtel’s post-paid plan India Home, at a Rs 299 rental, offers Airtel to Airtel local calls at Re 1 for two minutes and all other calls and SMS across India is at Re 1 per minute.

Hutch customers will have to pay an add-on tariff of Rs 250 per month on the existing schemes for making calls to any phone in India at Re 1 per minute.

Under Tata Indicom’s “Talk national, pay local” scheme, post-paid users will pay Rs 299 a month as rental and prepaid customers can avail of the service with a new recharge voucher of Rs 400 with a validity of 30 days.

An Idea user can make STD calls at Re 1 a minute and Idea-to-Idea local calls at Re 1 for 2 minutes for a monthly rental of Rs 299. If a pre-paid user buys a recharge coupon of Rs 249 with 30 days’ validity, he gets to make STD calls at Re 1 a minute, but there’s zero talk-time.

DNA does a reality check on these schemes.

OneIndia, the dream plan of telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, is all about having one long-distance (STD) tariff for calling anywhere in the country, irrespective of the distance covered, and irrespective of which service the calling party of receiving party used. However, while matching BSNL and MTNL’s Re 1 per minute STD rate, private operators have played around with the monthly rental component, an analyst pointed out.

On the other hand, the call durations may also vary. While some offer Re 1 for a two-minute call within their own networks, yet others offer rates like 40 paise per minute. Then, there are other variations on local tariffs and roaming, too.

Also, the Re 1 plan in most cases is just one of the schemes being offered by the service providers, while the existing ones continue to hold good. And, in most cases, post-paid plans appear to be simpler and more attractive than the pre-paid ones.


Idea Cellular has announced “Outgoing Free“, an offer that allows the first two minutes free on all outgoing to local and STD numbers for its prepaid customer base.

This customer offering is available on all local mobile calls on purchase of the Rs 250 voucher with Rs 50 talktime, all local calls on purchase of the Rs 750 voucher with Rs 75 talktime, and all STD and local calls on purchase of the Rs 2000 voucher with Rs 200 talk time.

Once the customer has completed usage of first two minutes, calls will be charged at 1 Rupee for all cell-to-cell local calls, and Rs 2 for other local and STD calls for a period of 30 days from the date of purchase of these vouchers.

The catch is that the validity of vouchers for this scheme is 30 days. So you have to exhaust the recharge amount within 30 days, even if you keep disconnecting every 1 minute 59 seconds.

“We feel that about 90 per cent of the calls, be it local or STD, are less than two minutes of duration and therefore, new tariff package for pre-paid users has been designed keeping in mind this factor,”

I wonder how sustainable schemes like these are? It may work for acquiring customers but is certainly not good for ARPUs. But if the telcos are not looking at lifetime value of customers when deciding the viability of cost of customer acquistion, it can only mean one thing. And that is, the customers may not be profitable individually but their total number is good for company’s valuation. Especially during times of increasing M&A activity and consolidation of operators.

Source: Techtree


So the mobile tariffs have finally caught up with technology in India. Distance will no longer be a relevant factor in how we communicate in our business and personal lives.

BSNL and MTNL have announced the “OneIndia” plan today, charging maximum tariff of Re 1 for a call to any place in the country, effective from March 1. Local call rates have been reduced to Re 1 for a three minute call.

But this comes with a increase in rental to Rs 299 per month. All existing tariff plans would continue to be in operation including the lower rentals scheme in rural areas and ‘OneIndia’ tariff plan would be optional.

Under the new tariff package for BSNL’s landline users, the local call charges will be Rs 1 for three minutes within BSNL network (earlier Rs 1.20 for three minutes) while calls to other networks both landline and mobile will be Rs 1 per minute within a state (intra-circle). This was earlier Rs 1.20 a minute.

All other calls made from landline or mobile phones anywhere in the country would be charged at the rate of Rs one a minute which was earlier approximately 2.40 a minute, BSNL Chairman A K Sinha told reporters.

One major consequence of this move is that the TRAI will now have to fashion its revenue share based ADC and revised carriage and termination charges to literally fulfil Maran’s dream.

The PSUs are hoping that losses notwithstanding, they could regain the fixed line telephony market that they lost due to competitive tariffs of mobile telephony.

At a glittering laser show to fulfill communication minister Dayanidhi Maran’s wish of “OneIndia” plan, both BSNL and MTNL put up a brave face and said there would be “absolutely” no loss of revenue as traiff was expected to grow by over 30 per cent to compensate any national loss, if any.

This announcement is especially significant, since most Indian landline users are BSNL/MTNL subscribers. From Dwarka to Dimapur and Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is indeed One.

But Business Standard adds a word of caution citing increased rentals. Users with large volume of local calls and rural subscribers also may not find the scheme attractive.

In case of BSNL, a heavy local call user, who currently pays a rental of Rs 2,450 under the BSNL premium plan, is offered 3500 free local calls per month. Tariff for calls beyond this limit, is 80 paise per call, which is less than the Re 1 offered under OneIndia. If the same user were to migrate to the OneIndia Plan, his phone bill would be 55 per cent higher, as charges would add up to Rs 3799 ( 299 + 3500).

For MTNL users, under Plan 500 (which provides 450 free calls at a rental charge of Rs 500), it does not make sense to move to the new offering.


Close on the heels of Airtel launching a life-time prepaid card, Hutch today announced a similar lifetime validity scheme for its prepaid subscribers at Rs 999.

It will also offer full talktime on all future recharges and customers can subsequently top-up with any amount and get full talktime.

But as Vinu pointed, you still need to recharge at least once in 6 months with the minimum available recharge (currently Rs 10) to stay mobile.


Airtel has come out with a life-time validity plan for prepaid users, which could be availed by paying a one-time fee of Rs 999. So a pre-paid user can continue to receive incoming calls for life after a single recharge, as against the current system of restricted validity, based on the recharge package.

As per the scheme, local calls would be charged Rs 1.99 a minute and STD calls Rs 2.99 a minute. The company also offered full talktime on future recharge.

I think one of the biggest users of this could be business travellers who take a prepaid connection in the foreign city in order to make cheaper local calls. They can now take an Airtel card for Rs 999 and use it whenever they visit their oft travelled city. And now their foreign city number doesn’t even change everytime.

Companies can now actually give it to all their field staff who need to be reachable but don’t often need to make a call – drivers, courier boys, collection agents etc.

I can think of a husband making use of a spare handset by giving it to his wife for just-in-case times. There are lot of people who have a spare handset or don’t mind shelling out the one-time handset cost but are wary of the monthly recharge in order to keep the number active.

Monthly rentals are tending towards zero. When it started, minimum recharge on prepaid was Rs 500, which then settled at Rs 325 for a while and then reducing to Rs 200 around mid-2005. What it means for the users is that they can stay mobile (at least to receive calls) by paying Rs 999 once. With a Motorola C115 costing Rs 1700 – all it would cost one to become mobile for life is Rs 2699.


’10 on Demand’ is an innovative scheme launched by Airtel in Gujarat.

Prepaid users whose talktime has expired can dial 888 to get emergency talktime worth Rs 10, which will be deducted in next recharge. This top up amount will be available only once till customer recharges again.

“This emergency value added service which customer can use only once,” said Singh. As earlier the voucher cards turned to top up cards, now top up cards are turning to post paid system.


Department of Telecom has issued a notice to Bharti Televentures alleging violation of the National Numbering Plan of 2003 through one of its plans.

The Airtel 2-in-1 plan violates the NNP 2003 as the subscribers are made to dial ‘#’ (hash) while making a call. Use of any such keys is against the NNP and is treated as a violation of the license conditions, says the DoT notice.

The company has refuted the allegation saying it has complied with all license conditions with regard to the NNP.

When contacted, Bharti Group Chief regulatory officer Narendra Gupta told PTI that “the Airtel 2-in-1 service does not violate the NNP, as the NNP does not encompas the mode/procedure by which a subscriber can access the service provider’s physical network per se.

“The NNP has standardised the procedure for calling between two subscribers. Dialing ‘#1′ and number essentially enables a subscriber terminal to communicate with the network.

“Hence, ‘#1′ is only an identification mechanism between the subscriber and the company network. Bharti as an integrated player having a Pan India presence, has been complying with various license conditions, from time to time,” Gupta said.

Airtel 2-in-1 is useful for users who want to control their STD/ISD spend by tying it with a prepaid account, and at the same time enjoying the benefits of a postpaid connection. It is in a way similar to long distance calling cards of MTNL/BSNL.

Airtel 2-in-1 is a product in which postpaid subscribers are able to use a separate prepaid account on the same mobile number.

To avail this service, the subscriber has to dial the hash (#) key, then ‘1’ and then the number so that the billing is separated through the intelligent network platform, while calls from the prepaid account are not reflected in the postpaid invoice.


Airtel has launched a promotional scheme under which its postpaid customers would get return air tickets, originating from Delhi, for a payment ranging from Rs 500 – 599 in addition to their plan charges.

The scheme, which gives Indian Airlines return tickets ‘free-of-cost’ to any destination in India is valid for both its new and existing post-paid customers opting for the network’s new monthly rental plan of Rs 349 and above.

To be a part of the Airtel ‘Free Flight Offer,’ all new customers have to pay Rs 599 while existing customers pay Rs 500. To avail the offer, the enrolled customer has to be on the network for three months and pay all the bills on time, the company said.


Tata Indicom has launched a new scheme, Non Stop Mobile, under which the validity of a pre-paid connection is extended for two years upon a single recharge, thus freeing mobile subscribers from monthly recharges. The service also offers free roaming in over 1500 locations in the country.

There is no monthly commitment to recharge. Above all, the recharge coupons are available from Rs.50 with 100 percent talk time.

Some noteworthy figures from the article.

At present Tata Indicom ‘True Paid’ launched in January this year has two million subscribers. However, they are targeting around 10 million subscriber base by March 2006…

As on September 30, the company’s subscriber base stood at 5.6 million spread across 1500 towns.


Idea launches new number series:

Idea Cellular launched blank sims for its pre-paid and post-paid customers giving them the option to choose the number of their choice in the 99 series.

The operator also announced reduction of tariff. For calls from mobile to mobile 49 paise would be charged and 99 paise for mobile to landline calls. STD rate would be 1.99 per min while per SMS charge would be 49 paise.

Idea has about 37 per cent market share in the six player scenario. The operator adds about 25,000 to 30,000 customers per month.

Hutch “Full Talktime” offer in Karnataka:

For any recharge card above Rs 330, customers will now be able to completely utilise every rupee on calls. The service charge of Rs 150 was now being offered back to subscribers. Activated once, the offer will last for the next 20 recharges.