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TRAI made it mandatory for Telecom Operators to offer per second Billing Option to Customers

The Indian telecoms regulator TRAI issued a directive to all mobile phone operators in India on 20 April 2012 making it mandatory for the operators to offer a per second billing option to customers. The new directive allowed telecoms carriers to charge up to four times the existing rates for premium services that mostly include phone calls and text messages sent to participate in TV and radio programmes.

The authority however does not intend to restrict the growth of services involving content to curb the revenue streams available for the service providers. The regulator has also retained the existing cap of 25 tariff plans that can be offered by access service providers including post-paid and pre-paid.

TRAI stated that all operators must have at least one tariff plan that provides per second billing and also added that the operators can offer up to 25 different tariff plans in all to their customers. Per second billing options provide for a more absolute billing of telephone services by letting the carrier charge the consumer for a call measured in exact seconds and not in minutes.

The rates for premium rate services currently levied by service providers are substantially higher as compared to the normal tariff applicable for a two-way communication due to the fact that the charges levied also include the price for content.

Considering that the calls and SMS made for participating in competition and voting hardly contain any content, TRAI's Telecommunication Tariff (Fifty First Amendment) Order, 2012 mandated that tariff for such calls and SMS shall not exceed four times of the applicable local call or SMS charges. Telecommunication Tariff (Fifty First Amendment) Order, 2012 provides flexibility to service providers to apply revision in international long distance tariff uniformly for new as well as existing subscribers.

TRAI had issued a consultation paper in October 2010 on issues relating to Telecom Tariff seeking views of stakeholders.



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