Way back in late nineties when I procured my first mobile phone (a.k.a brick), I used to think more than 10 times before making a phone call from my cellular.
Do you know why?
Each minute of a outgoing call used to cost me a whooping 16 rupees a minute. It was huge ! The phone was used only for ultra urgent and important calls. Fast forward ten years and an outgoing call now costs around 50 paise for a local outgoing call – nearly 30 times lesser. Now-a-days, even if I am at home, I prefer using a cell phone to make a call rather than my landline. It turns out cheaper. No wonder India has become the second largest Wireless network in the world.
The only time I am careful while making calls is when I am traveling out of station. The STD and roaming charges can really make a dent in your pocket. According to research, close to 70% of STD users in India do not use this facility for more than 5 minutes a month. Also close to 80% of users switch off their mobiles while roaming.
However, even this does not seem to be much of a worry now.
Airtel has taken the market by surprise by slashing STD tariffs by upto 40%. So no matter which plan you’re currently on, STD tariffs per minute will now be just 1 and half rupees. There’s good news even for frequent travellers. The cut in roaming tariffs which in a sense was long overdue has finally happened. So incoming roaming will be charged at a flat rupee a minute. The same tariff is applicable for local outgoing calls while roaming.
The management says it has got its arithmetic right and it expects usage to rise sharply. Bharti says close to 70% of STD users in India do not use this facility for more than 5 minutes a month. Also close to 80% of users switch off their mobiles while roaming. [source]
Given the break-neck competition, all other wireless service providers will soon follow suit. Airtel has set the benchmark now, its just matter of time before others come down on their rates.
I had not really expected rates to come down any further, but it has happened.
Can they come down any further?