Paper bill or e-bill? Trai seeks public view for telephone bills

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has sought public views on making paper bills for post-paid telecom services optional and setting electronic bills as a default option.

Environmental concerns relating to cutting of trees for papers used in printing of bills and changing mobile usage scenario in the context of massive surge in data usage on smartphones were put forth to bolster their demand as the main rationale to this demand, the regulator clarified in its consultation paper.

Trai said that it has received representations from telecom service providers requesting a review of the provision of the Telecom Tariff order which mandates provision of hard copy of the bill or the printed copy of the bill to post-paid subscribers and removal of the mandate of providing hard copy of the bill with Mobile Bill (M-Bill) or E-Bill as the default option.

“Is there a need to change the extant default option, i.e., provision of paper bill without any charge to postpaid subscribers of wire line and mobile services?” and “should e-bill now be made the default option?” Trai has asked in its consultation paper.

“Authority has recently received twenty four similar representations from Hon’ble MPs/MLAs/MLCs, some prominent citizens and telecom service providers, who have argued that doing away with mandatory provision of hard copy of bill, would be in tune with ‘Digital India Mission’, apart from addressing a serious environmental concern,” Trai said.

The regulator said that consumers form the most important segment of stakeholders on this issue and therefore Trai has decided to hold a public consultation to have views of all the stakeholders, in the matter so that a holistic approach could be adopted to address this important issue affecting Telecom consumer’s rights.

Last date for public comments on the paper is December 10 and for counter comments is December 24, 2018.

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