The Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) is India's international telecom service provider, with centres at Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi and Madras. Secondary internet access providers rent or lease lines from the VSNL. The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is the main telecom service provider in the city.
The MTNL provides individuals and organisations with telephone and fax services within Mumbai or to other point in the country (STD), whereas the VSNL mainly provides international phone and fax services (ISD). In 1995 there were about 4000 STD/ISD booths in the city, of which about 800 had fax. The VSNL is also in competition with the MTNL to provide fax services both within and outside India. In addition, two private commercial organisations provide cellular telephone services in the city. Call rates (1999) are Rs. 4 per minute of airtime. Satellite telephony appeared in Mumbai early in 1999. Call rates are Rs. 195 per minute of airtime.
The basic digital data services provided by the VSNL are packet switching on lines with a bandwidth of 64 Kilobits per second (Kbps) and point-to-point leased lines with capacity between 64 Kbps and 2 Mbps. Organisations or individuals may lease such lines, or buy value added services like e-mail or web access. Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) is offerred by the MTNL. The VSNL offers e-mail and web access to individuals and organisations at the rate of Rs. 10,000 per 500 hours of connectivity (1999). The rates offered by MTNL are 15% less.