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Per-second billing not mandatory: TRAI
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Telecom operators would be free to offer various tariff plans to their subscribers, including the per-second billing scheme, and they
would also be free to fix the tariff per second, telecom regulator TRAI said on Thursday.This would come as a relief to the telecom operators who would have taken a hit on their revenues, if the per-second-billing model was to become mandatory, as telcos are already facing low revenues per subscriber.

Under this model, if a telco were to offer a tariff plan that provided calls at 60 paise per minute, and if the customer were to speak only for 20 seconds, he or she will be charged only 20 paise for the call.

“We are not looking at mandating per-second billing for the operators. We would float a consultation paper on it and decide only if the industry sees benefits in the system,” Trai chairman JS Sarma said. The regulator plans to issue a consultation paper by the end of this year.

“Operators can offer it along with other plans. It does not mean we will fix the tariff. When we make recommendation on this issue, we will keep in view the interest of operators as well as consumers,” Mr Sarma added.

Earlier, the regulator had said that it plans to ask operators to charge customers on a per-second basis so that they can enjoy the benefit of paying only for their usage. The Indian telecom operators, who are already experiencing low revenue growth, expressed concerns over the sustainability of future revenue growth in a highly-competitive marketplace.

Currently, majority of the operators charge for the full minute, irrespective of whether the call lasts the whole minute. The per-second-billing model is being followed by Tata DoCoMo and new entrant Sistema Shyam.

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