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Sun 4 Feb 2001 04:00 AM

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Kuwait cuts international call costs

Call costs from Kuwait to other Arab countries have been reduced, while the Kuwait Ministry of Communications battles the activities of call-back operators.

International call charges from Kuwait to several other Arab nations have been reduced, the Arab Times newspaper has reported. Effective immediately, call charges have been cut to 300 fils/minute during peak hours, and 250 fils/minute off-peak (Fridays, public holidays, and from 1pm-4pm and 11pm-7am daily).The countries to which calls will be cheaper include Algeria, the Commoros Islands, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.Reductions of call tariffs to other countries including Asia and Europe are also planned.The Kuwait Ministry of Communications said it has incurred hefty losses from the operations of international call-back operators, and faces stiff competition from ISPs. Call-back operators, which are illegal in many countries, provide an international number which, when called, will call back to the original caller with an open line, allowing calls to be made via alternative routes (such as via the US) where tariffs are cheaper. Although several countries have legislation forbidding the operation of call-back operators, they are a popular choice for users who need to call internationally on a regular basis, bypassing local operators and potentially causing economic damage to regulated environments.

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