Airtel To Move All Prepaid Mobile Customers To Per Second Bill Plan
The government’s seriousness over the issue of call drops seems to be ringing a bell with mobile companies. Airtel, the country’s biggest mobile operator, has decided to shift its prepaid mobile user base to the more efficient per-second billing, at a time when the government has ordered an audit of tariff plans of telecom companies to check any undue gains due to call drops, while regulator Trai has started looking into a compensation structure for customers.
Airtel’s move is expected to be replicated by other operators too, though most of the other companies said they are “still looking” into the option.
Contrary to a per-minute tariff plan, the per-second billing option is considered a more effective tool to manage call drops as it charges customers only on their actual usage. For example, in case of a per minute billing pulse, if a call gets dropped after 3 minutes 15 seconds, the customer will be charged for a total of 4 minutes (45 seconds extra) even though he did not talk for that duration. A per second billing will solve this as it bills you on actual usage. Bharti Airtel said starting Monday , it will move all its prepaid customers nationally to the “more affordable” per second bill plan. The move has been rolled out under the company’s new ‘pay for what you use’ initiative. “… this will help ensure that customers pay only for the time they use the Airtel network,” the company said.
The government has made it clear to the telecom operators that it will not tolerate call drops and will initiate serious steps such as financial penalties, as well as other ways by which customers can be compensated -zero charges for dropped calls or extra talk-time.
Airtel said a large majority of its pre-paid customers are already on the per-second billing. However, it said customers who would want to remain with the per minute pulse plans -where some benefits are offered in case of night calling rates, roaming and STD tariffs in certain circles -can opt to do so. “While customer’s standard base rate plans will be shifted to a pulse rate of per second, they will have the freedom to opt for additional tariff discount packs of their choice for discounted per sec or per minute benefits.”