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“It has been observed that per second billing system is more acceptable among majority of the subscribers, because it ensures that subscribers pay only for the actual usage,” said TRAI
The Telecom Regulator Authority of India (TRAI) has made it mandatory for all telecom service providers to offer at least one, per paisa per second tariff plan. The sector regulator has also allowed telecom operators to have up to 25 different tariff plans, in total. Consumer organisations have lauded the move stating that it will brings more clarity in tariff plans. But they pointed that such plans need to be popularised as they are deliberately kept away from the users.
“The rationale of this order is to bring clarity to the tariff plans. Many a times people choose a plan based on less charges per seconds, but in the billing the calculation is entirely different. What is more important is that service providers should advertise these tariff plans aggressively instead of keeping consumer in the dark,” says Anil Prakashan, president, Telecom Users Group.
HK Awasthi, legal head at Consumer Voice, an online magazine on consumer awareness, seconds the view. “Since 96% of the subscribers are pre-paid, service providers should educate them about what really per pulses rate plans are and how are they calculated. It is a good move by the regulator.”
TRAI’s directive said, “In order to ensure that per second billing remains an assured alternative option for all subscribers, it has been decided to mandate that all service providers shall offer at least one pre-paid and one post-paid tariff plan with the pulse rate of one second for local and national long distance calls.”
The telecom regulator had analysed various tariff offers available in the market. It found all the service providers have per second billing plans. “It has been observed that per second billing system is more acceptable among majority of the subscribers, because it ensures that subscribers pay only for the actual usage,” said TRAI.
RK Verma, president, Chandigarh Telecom District Telephone Subscribers Association, told Moneylife that, “TRAI should only allow one tariff plan. Allowing so many plans only leads to confusion. All service providers have per paise per second plans. But they are hardly known to the consumers. All the details are available through the customer care department of the service provider. So customers who want to subscribe to such plans have to call the company’s customer care centre, for which they are charged.”
Meanwhile, TRAI has allowed telecom companies to charge up to four times the existing rates for premium services such as phone calls and text messages sent to participate in reality shows on TV and radio.