India's Phone Monopoly Pulls The Plug On Net Telephony

VSNL is trying to block cut-rate overseas Net calls

Talk may be cheap, but not in India. The state-owned phone company, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd., or VSNL, currently charges $2.20 per minute to call the U.S.--more than double AT&T's business rate of $1.03 the other way around. In addition to holding the monopoly on overseas calls, VSNL also is India's sole provider of access to the Internet. So when foreign companies began offering Indians rates as low as 10 cents a minute to make calls via the Net, VSNL got nervous.

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