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No plan to reduce local phone call charges
RIYADH, 25th March 2001

    The Saudi Telecom Company yesterday dashed the hopes of Internet users when it announced that it has no plan to reduce local phone call charges. “There will not be any cut in local phone charges,” said Saud ibn Majed Al-Dowaish, STC’s vice president for regional affairs and client services.

  In an interview with the Okaz newspaper, he said the company was trying to strike a balance by raising the charges of local calls and slashing the rates of inter-city and international calls. “We have a long-term plan to unify local and international call charges,” he said.

  Last April, STC increased local phone charges from 2.5 to five halalas per minute and reduced the number of free local calls from 600 to 300 for three months.

  Dowaish said that last week’s Cabinet decision was not to cut phone call charges. “The Cabinet only gave the PTT and the Finance Ministry power to reduce local and inter-city telephone charges,” he clarified.

  “This means, to raise these charges they have to get Cabinet approval,” he said. At the same time the Cabinet decision would quicken procedures regarding reduction of local and inter-city calls in the future. “The company can now do it with the approval of the two ministries,” Dowaish said.

  He said STC would soon present a study to its board of directors to cut inter-city charges. “At present the charges are fixed in accordance with geographical distance,” he pointed out. The charge for calls to a distance of less than 100 km is 20 halalas, from 100 km to 200 km 40 halalas, from 200 to 500 km 90 halalas, and above 500 km SR1.30 per minute.

  “Once the new changes in tariff are approved by the board and the two ministers, the rates will be in tune with the recent cuts in mobile phone charges,” Dowaish said. There are 3.1 million telephones and 1.5 million mobile phones in the Kingdom, he said, adding that a reduction in connection charges helped increase mobile phone subscriptions in the country. STC recently slashed mobile phone connection charges from SR1,500 to SR800 and those for family mobile from SR500 to SR400.

Source: ArabNews®

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25 March 2001 04:09:58 PM

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