Wrong Number

Net revenues from international telecom services are dropping- one of the unseen downside effects of liberalizing the international voice market. Net revenues from international telecom services are dropping- one of the unseen downside effects of liberalizing the international voice market. Overseas call revenues minus what the island pays for terminating calls abroad dropped from US$ 43 million in April 2003 to US$ 33 million last year, the Central Bank annual report said.

Lower tariffs after liberalization of the international voice market and the resulting increase in overseas call minutes are blamed.

Liberalisation of the international voice market in March 2003 saw tariffs drop to about one fifth the earlier costs, with rates now as low as Rs. 18 per minute.

Lower tariffs helped boost call volumes, but telecom operators say despite the growth in call minutes the numbers are not sufficient to shore up revenue to pre-liberalisation levels.

Industry officials say they have lobbied the government to at least keep international in-payments at the current levels to help recover eroded margins.

Sources say the government