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TRAI Makes Per-Second Tariff Mandatory; Caps Premium SMS/Call Charges

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued an order, making it mandatory for every telecom service provider to ensure that they offer at least one tariff plan in each circle, for both postpaid and prepaid subscribers, which offers a per-second pulse rate for local and national calls. It's interesting to note that what was once a USP offered by new entrants like Tata Docomo and Uninor, to attract subscribers, has now become a standard tariff, prescribed by the regulator. The TRAI has said that this move was taken to ensure that 'per second billing' remained an alternative option for all subscribers since it allows subscribers to pay only for the actual usage rather than a fixed rate and has therefore become more acceptable among majority of the subscribers since the inception of these tariffs in 2009. TRAI however stated that operators are still free to offer alternative tariff plans with pulse rate of their preference, within the overall existing ceiling of 25 tariff plans at any point of time. Premium Services: TRAI has also mandated that the tariff for calls and SMS made by subscribers to participate in any competition and voting should not exceed four times of the applicable local call/SMS charges. Elaborating on the significantly higher rates for premium services like helpline services, ring tones, gaming and many more, TRAI stated that these services were being charged significantly higher in comparison to the normal tariff, since the charges also includes the price for content. But unlike other premium services,…

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