ECONOMY

Vivodi trims card rates

Vivodi Telecommunications yesterday announced reduced charges for its prepay telephone cards, slightly more than a month after it slashed charges for fixed-telephony calls and high-speed Internet connection. The move is likely to put more pressure on dominant carrier OTE, which has seen alternative telecoms operators snatch a 7 percent share of the market up to March. It expects the market loss to reach 25 percent by the end of 2005. Users of Vivodi Calling Card, its prepay phone card, will this week be able to enjoy reduced rates of 0.0275 cents per minute for local calls, Vivodi said. Long-distance calls will be cheaper by 28 percent, with rates falling to 0.057 cents per minute from 0.080 cents. Calls to EU countries, the US, Canada and Australia are estimated to be 29 percent cheaper following yesterday’s rate cut. «Callers will see a reduced charge of around 9.3 percent compared with OTE,» Vivodi said. Seeking to gain market share, alternative carriers have resorted to rate cuts to attract customers from OTE. Q-Telecom, the telecoms subsidiary of IT group InfoQuest and one of the 12 jousting in a highly competitive industry, trimmed rates in February. Tellas, the joint venture between electricity utility Public Power Corporation and Italy’s Wind and the newest entrant to the telecoms sector, has heavily publicized its competitive rates to draw interest. Hoping to stanch the loss, OTE in turn has unveiled its own rate cuts for long-distance calls on Sunday. Charges are due to come down by as much as 67 percent effective May 12, while special packages for international calls will lower costs by as much as 35 percent. Regulatory watchdog the Telecommuncations and Post Commission, however, has questioned the move.