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Monday, July 15, 2024

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Bharti Airtel here no sooner issues are sorted

Bharti Airtel will launch Airtel in Sri Lanka as soon as the issues are sorted out, said President - Mobile Services Sanjay Kapoor.

He said that other mobile operators see us as a major threat and they have come together to delay the launch by not providing interconnection to Airtel on the same terms as they practise among themselves. The interconnection charge being demanded from Airtel is very high - about 50% of the outgoing airtime rate.

Kapoor said that a simple comparison of the interconnection rates in the SAARC countries reveal that the actual benchmark ratio is 25%-30% and all this ensures that Airtel has to pay a high cost for every call made from its network so that Airtel is not able to offer affordable services to Sri Lankan customers.

“We are keen to launch our services in Sri Lanka before the end of this calendar year and we are ready to give an international quality service and experience at an affordable price,” said Kapoor.

He said that the whole impetus for us is not profitability but customer experience and the market share.

We will manage our Profit and Loss as profits is secondary while customers come first. He said that Sri Lankans have to pay a significantly high mobile tariff compared to their counterparts in other countries. Despite significant low tariff structures and further reduction in tariffs across the world there has been no significant reduction in the mobile tariffs in the domestic market.

As a result of higher call rates the average usage of a mobile phone is very low, ranging between 120-220 minutes for pre paid users. Compared to this India is 461 minutes, China 346 minutes and Singapore 338 minutes.

He said that while the average use in India is 461 minutes Airtel customers use 530 minutes per month. This has been made possible by offering a good quality service at the most affordable cost to customers.

Kapoor said that unlike most of the Asian countries in general and SAARC countries in particular, Sri Lankan customers pay for incoming mobile calls as well. The cost is very high - Rs 6-7 per minute.

Therefore, the operators are discouraging the consumer to call freely between operator networks.

He said the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC) is forward looking and is taking all initiatives to promote the welfare of the customer.

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