Lebanon Businessnews News

Landline telecom prices slashed up to 50 percent
Mobile calls next in line
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The Ministry of Telecommunication announced the slashing of telecommunication prices as April 1st (no, it isn’t April’s fools) Minister Boutros Harb said that the tariffs for phone services have been static for the past six years, and should be revised and lessened.

Harb said that the relatively high phone tariffs have pushed people to substitute phone calls by alternative telecom services, such as Viber and Whatsapp. This has negatively affected revenues to the Treasury.

The land line connection fee is now free of charge (instead of LL50,000), and the monthly subscription fee has been lowered to LL8,000 from LL12,000. Harb said that the rates of international calls on both land and mobile networks will shrink by 50 percent. The cost of an outgoing minute will become LL300 from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, down from LL600. For other times, the cost per minute has been dropped to LL200from LL400.

The Ministry decreased the rates of calls using prepaid cards, Telecarte and Kalam: Fifty percent off calls to landlines and 30 percent off calls to the mobile network. The new cost per minute to the landline network has become LL50 down from LL100, and the cost to the mobile network went down to LL200 from LL300.

“The rates of prepaid cards have become competitive with those in Europe. They are also similar to the price of calls made between invoiced landlines, or invoiced mobile lines.”

The new measures are expected to boost the sales of the prepaid cards, which sales have been halted during the last three years. This has led their income to the Treasury to drop by 90 percent to $10 million on yearly basis.

The Ministry is currently considering decreasing the rates of mobile calls. “We need to charge the consumer a fair price, without severely hurting revenues to the Treasury from the mobile telephony sector.”

Harb said that he will reconsider a decision to force all mobile phone owners to register their equipment identity (IMEI), which is according to him, irrelevant, because instead of combating illegal importers, it has created cartels by big smugglers and affected solely small traders. “I will issue the right decision concerning this regulation by next week.”
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Mar 31, 2014
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