New SLT tariff benefits customers
The new tariff of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has given benefits to
customers and there is no overall tariff increase as claimed by some
reports, SLT officials told the media on Friday.
SLT will incur a 9.03% revenue loss due to the new tariff structure
introduced from November 1, 2007. Accordingly, SLT has introduced a time
based or per second billing for domestic telephones.
SLT introduced the new tariff system to comply with the Supreme Court
ruling to implement the time based tariff system and to reduce the
rental, specially the business rental.
The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission directed the SLT to
introduce the time based tariff system in 1999. However, due to
technical reasons and the court case against the fifth tariff
rebalancing of the SLT the implementation of the time based tariff
system was delayed, they said.
SLT, the telecommunication market leader in the country is at a
disadvantage in the highly competitive market as a result of being a
SLT has to follow very stringent procedures to get approvals for
price revisions where other incumbent operators don't follow. In this
situation the SLT is not competitive in the market. For instance we
don't want to charge a higher rental from business customers. The new
tariff structure was not what the SLT proposed, the officials said.
Prior to 2002, SLT had the monopoly in international
telecommunications and the company earned 70% of its revenue from
international operations. This profit was used to subsidise local call
charges. In 2002, after the government opened the international
communication market to competition the situation changed.
During 2002-2003 there was no revenue increase in the SLT. After a
long TRC delay, SLT received approval for tariff rebalancing and this
had to be done within five years and local call charges were increased.
However, the fifth tariff revision was challenged by a consumer
organisation in the Supreme Court.
Officials said that to be on par with other operators the peak time
was extended by one hour. The Rs. 1.50 start up fee is a common feature
in the time based billing system and all countries and operators follow