You’ll soon get to choose the cheapest STD and ISD tariffs, irrespective of your service provider. After recommending that internet telephony be opened up, telecom regulator TRAI this week will mandate that telcos offer their subscribers the freedom to choose a carrier of their choice for making long-distance calls, whether domestic (STD) or international (ISD).
This will start a new era of competition in long-distance calls, provided the government acts promptly to amend licence conditions to enable telcos comply with the TRAI directive.
What TRAI has in mind is not quite implementation of the carrier access code (CAC) project mooted several years ago. In the face of resistance by telcos to CAC and the willingness of the Department of Telecom (DoT) to play along with them, TRAI has come up with a variation. This is how it will work. Suppose, you are a Bharti subscriber and you find out BSNL is offering the cheapest long-distance tariffs.
You then buy a pre-paid long-distance package from BSNL for a specific duration. You punch in a set of numbers specified in the package to get on to the BSNL network, and then proceed to make the long-distance call you wanted to, and talk for as long as your pre-paid package permits.