Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Hutchison Essar and Spice Communications have all applied to India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for domestic long-distance (DLD) licences, according to Zee News. The four are among 18 companies currently having applications for either a DLD or international long-distance (ILD) concession scrutinised by the regulator. In January the state slashed the licence fees for NLD licences services from INR1 billion (USD22.4 million) to INR25 million (USD562,300) and lowered the entry charge for ILD services to INR25 million, from INR250 million, in a bid to ramp up competition; annual fees for both concessions have also been cut to 6% of annual gross revenues, down from 15%. Last month utilities companies PowerGrid, Railtel and Oil India received letters of intent from the DoT paving the way for the granting of DLD licences. For PowerGrid and Railtel it marked the end of a decade-long quest to enter the telephony market. The regulator hopes that the companies’ already extensive network infrastructure will help expand the availability of services in remote and rural regions.