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No decision before debate on per-sec rate proposal

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Seeking to allay the telecom industry’s fears on revenues, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today said its proposal to compel mobile service providers to offer an option with a per-second billing plan is in the initial stages and it would surely consult stakeholders before a final decision.

“The proposal is in initial stages. We are examining the feasibility of bringing in such a provision,” Trai chairman J S Sarma told reporters.

“The consultation paper would be out in about a month and a half ,and after due discussions with the stakeholders, we will give our recommendations, keeping in view the interest of both operators as well as service providers.”

He clarified the regulator did not intend to make all rate plans on a per-second basis.

“The tariffs will continue to be determined by market-driven mechanism. This pay-per-second plan is a mandatory option given in other countries also,” Sarma said.

He said about 15-20 per cent of the calls are below a minute, on which users lose money in the present minute-based pulse rate. “We thought this (pay per second plan) will be a desirable thing to offer, as it will allow users to pay per use.” However, subscribers can choose not to opt for such a plan.

Earlier this week, Sarma said on the sidelines of the International Telecommunication Union meeting in Geneva, "We may ask all the operators to consider per-second pulse as a mandatory tariff option along with their other tariff plans."

His comments sparked controversy that the regulator was trying to fix rates even as the average revenues per user for operators, especially cellular ones, was declining. The move is also believed to be a reason for the recent battering of telecom stocks in the share market.

First Published: Fri, October 09 2009. 00:50 IST