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Indian cellcos allowed to select long-distance carriers

NEW DELHI, India-The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has ruled that cellular service providers are free to select their own national and international long-distance carriers to carry default traffic, thus clearing the confusion following the opening of the long-distance business.

The ruling will be in place until the regulator and the telecom department finalize a carrier access code (CAC). The regulator has also asked cellular companies to modify their networks within three months to enable subscribers to select long-distance carriers once more players enter the business. Similarly, for international long distance, service providers will get six months to modify their networks.

Bharti Group, which owns the leading cellular service AirTel, has floated a separate company to offer national and international long-distance services, breaking the monopoly of government-owned BSNL and recently privatized VSNL in national and international long distance respectively. More private players have been licensed to offer these services.

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