SLT's new tariffs – a sham
Several readers have written to The Sunday Times FT regarding an article that ran in its November 11 edition on Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and its reduced tariff charges.
SLT moved from a unit based charging system to a time based charging system which came into effect in November 2007. Critics charged that contrary to SLT's position that the tariff revisions would decrease call charges, it would actually increase charges.
In a letter to the newspaper, one reader concluded that SLT has taken the public 'for a ride' because the new tariff will increase bills. He wrote that he took a sample of eleven calls taken at peak hours and the same calls taken during the economy hours. One call was made during the following seconds: 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 182, 185, 190, 200, 220 and 240.
For the peak hour calls, the new charge came to Rs.101.25 as opposed to Rs.96.25 with the old tariff, an increase of 5.24% . Similarly, the reader wrote that for economy hour calls, the new charge is Rs.58.90 whereas the old charge was Rs.49.50, a 19% increase.
Furthermore, he concluded that the monthly residential rental charge was added and the free calls were deducted to arrive at the final bill.
On the basis of the new tariff, the bill came to Rs.8005.50 while the final bill for the old tariffs was Rs.7656.50.
A critic of SLT's tariff structure and a telecom expert formulated the above chart to show the increase in call charges with the new tariff when compared to the old.
A sample of 14 calls was taken, three during peak hours and 11 during the economy band. With the introduction of the start up charge of Rs.1.50 as part of the new tariff revision, he said that calls will end up costing more than the old charges. (NG)