India, for 10¢ a minute


One has to love fiber, and especially companies that have bought cheap fiber networks and are putting them to effective use. Take Reliance as an example. It built a local and wireless network in India. Then it bought FLAG Telecom. Then it came to US and asked all “Not Really Indians” to sign-up for a service called, Reliance IndiaCall. It was pretty simple, if you had family with Reliance Telecom cell phone, land lines or fixed wireless phone, well you could call them for 11.9¢ / minute. Last week, VSNL bought TYCO’s network, Reliance counter attacked and now has a new price: 9.9¢ / minute. I love this idea… I have been paying nearly 80 cents a minute to call mom… and now well I can be admonished and its would cost me a dollars.


Philip Chang

True, there are advantages to buying your own fiber network for pennies on the dollar from a distressed telecom to lower costs.
However, lowering the cost of carrying the call via fiber can only go so far in lowering the cost of a call to India.

The cost of carrying a phone call via fiber is only a small portion of the total cost of a call to India. Most
of the cost is taken up
by paying the Access Deficit Charge (ADC), to the terminating Indian network as an interconnect fee to route the call. Reliance has been accused of not paying this charge to BSNL and MTNL for calls routed over their networks.

International calls have a Rs 4.25 per minute charge. (If you think that’s bad, it used to be much higher). Local calls
have a 30 paise per minute charge. Both BSNL and MTNL have accused Reliance of changing the Caller Line Identification (CLI) of the incoming international call to a local call, and routing the international call as a local call. They charge Reliance is not paying the Rs 4.25 per
minute international ADC charge. They state that Reliance owes each of them tens of millions of dollars in
back ADC charges. BSNL and MTNL are threatening to cut off the interconnection points between their networks and Reliance unless Reliance pays them for the owed ADC charges.

I’m assuming that the increase in rates to non Reliance lines and decrease to Reliance lines is related to the ADC dispute between Reliance with BSNL and MNTL. Also, I wouldn’t be suprised if there are further increases to non Reliance lines in the future if Reliance has to pay the disputed ADC charges or service disruptions if BSNL and/or MTNL carry out their
threats to cut off Reliance’s network at the interconnection points.

There have been a number of articles in the Indian press about this controversy.


“So, if Trai asks, Reliance will have to explain, for instance, how it offers a US-to-India call for 11.9 cents (Rs 5.47) a minute to retail customers.

When it has to pay Rs 4.25 as ADC, 2-3 cents (Rs 1.15) for carrying the call to India, and another 30 paise as termination charges to the telephone firm in India to whose lines the calls are being made — its bilateral agreements for bulk minutes with global carriers are even cheaper, by 15-20 per cent.”

mentions the Reliance/BSNL dispute, talks about illegal telephony in India resulting from attempts of avoiding paying ADC, and why Reliance and the Tatas are
spreading themselves around the globe.

For more articles on the status of the Reliance BSNL dispute, here is a Google News Query of “reliance bsnl adc”

Here’s a Google news query of
“reliance mtnl adc” to retrieve
articles about the Reliance and MTNL dispute.


It’s still a great deal at 12.9c/min! This may date me, but I can still remember the days when a call to Bomaby cost five dollars per minute!!!

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