Pre-paid talk time top-up fee capped

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New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai today said processing fee levied on top-up vouchers should not exceed 10 per cent of maximum retail price of coupon or Rs 3, whichever is less, a move which would provide relief to pre-paid users recharging with lower denomination top-up vouchers.
"A nominal fee, not exceeding 10 per cent of maximum retail price of top-up voucher or Rs 3, whichever is less, shall be levied towards administrative cost or expenses for each top-up voucher," Trai said in its Telecommunication Tariff (Fifty Third Amendment) Order, 2012.

At present, processing fee charged for top-ups of Rs 20 and above is Rs 3, while for top-ups below Rs 20, it is Rs 2.

Processing fee is included in the MRP of a recharge coupon used by prepaid mobile service users in the country.

More than 90 per cent of mobile phone users in the country are estimated to be pre-paid users.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has undertaken a review through a consultation process and has decided to rationalise the structure of the processing fee.

For the ceiling tariff for calls made and SMS sent to participate in contests and competitions and voting, Trai has decided to keep the tariff for such premium services under forbearance.

Trai in April, 2012 had notified that calls made and SMS sent to participate in contests and competitions and voting shall not be charged more than four times of applicable local charges.

However, the operators said that these provisions would be difficult to implement and the authority should have a re-look at these provisions.

Trai than issued a consultation paper in August, 2012 for such services suggesting a ceiling of Rs 3 for calls (per minute) and per SMS or doing away with the tariff ceiling for such calls and SMSs.

However, service providers have unanimously stated that tariff for such services should be kept under forbearance.

"Keeping in view the difficulties in implementing the ceiling tariff and feedback received during the consultation process, the authority has decided to keep the tariff for such services under forbearance," the order said.

Pre-paid talk time top-up fee capped
 
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