Home >Industry >Telecom >Idea shifts 1.5 million pre-paid users to per second basis payment

New Delhi: Idea Cellular has shifted its 1.5 million pre-paid customers who were on per minute billing (PMB) plan to per second billing (PSB), thus ensuring all its pre-paid users pay only for the time they use the network.

Apart from the 1.5 million, who will be shifted over the next 30 days, the rest of its pre-paid users are already on per second billing. The company said that out of its total customer base of over 166 million, nearly 157 million are pre-paid.

Bharti Airtel too announced earlier this week that all its pre-paid customers will be put on per second billing. The move by mobile operators comes amid regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s scrutiny whether there are any tariff plans by service providers wherein call drops actually incentivise or benefit the companies.

“We have always been customer-centric in our approach, offering choice and convenience to customers and hence, we have been providing both PMB and PSB plans to users so far. Henceforth, we will now be offering PSB plan, by default, to our entire base of nearly 157 million existing and new pre-paid users," Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular said in a statement.

With call drops on the rise, telecom secretary Rakesh Garg had also said plans where customers get some free minutes and billing is minute-based need to be examined. The problem of call drops has become acute in the last 3-4 months.

The scale was such that last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too voiced serious concern on the issue and asked the officials concerned to take urgent steps to address the problem. Idea said it has spent Rs4,050 crore (excluding spectrum) in 2014-15 and has increased its capex plan for FY16 to Rs6,000-6,500 crore.

“The company will continue to invest in expanding its robust network of nearly 1,50,000 cell sites covering over 3,60,000 towns and villages with voice and data offerings on 2G and 3G and roll out 4G LTE services in 10 key markets, starting 2016," it said. The company has made a total investment of Rs65,094.7 crore in the Indian telephony market so far.

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