A. Raja, Indian Telecom Minister met with the heads of 17 Telecom companies in New Delhi to get feeling of the sector ahead of 3G auction.

A Raja has said that

there may be a reduction in termination charges among operators, which would result in lowering of mobile tariffs. The termination charge is a levy payable by an operator to another on whose network the call ends.

The minister is upbeat on lowering termination charges by 2010 and accordingly tariffs can be reduced. He said that local call charges can be as low as 10 paise per minute while STD tariffs to just 25 paise per minute after the reduction in termination charges.

In the meeting with the telcos, the minister has also pushed for optimum utilization of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund, for subsidizing rural operations, to enhance telecom infrastructure in rural areas. The government is expected to simplify the rules for getting funds from the USO fund, nearly pegged over Rs 16,000 crore.

The government has prioritized for increasing the rural teledensity and has insisted the operators to venture into rural India for setting up telecom infrastructure. There is a target of having 10 million broadband subscribers in rural areas in the next two years.

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