TRAI stops VSNL from selling international calling cards

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) to stop selling pre-paid international long distance calling cards in the country, on the grounds that the calling card violated licence conditions, since VSNL, as an international long distance operator, did not have the permission to sell directly to the end-consumer.

TRAI has asked VSNL to show compliance with the order within three days. The regulator has also said that the calling cards violated the 'access deficit charge' or ADC and the 'interconnect usage charges' (IUC) norms.

TRAI also found VSNL's response to its earlier notice "unsatisfactory." In response, VSNL said that it was not violating any licence norms since it was selling the cards through Tata Teleservices and not directly to the end-consumer.

"It is denied that the selling of international calling cards is not in consonance with the licence and IUC regulations and it is further denied that there has been any violation of licence conditions of IUC regulations," VSNL's response to the show-cause notice said.

TRAI had also said that the calling cards posed security concerns since the called number could not be provided to the security agencies. Denying the allegation, VSNL said that it had to issue calling cards because TRAI had not enforced the 'carrier access codes' (CAC), which would have allowed the end-consumer to choose a long distance operator.