Trai As You Might, Reliance Has A No-billing Plan Up Its Sleeve

New Delhi: | Updated: Dec 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Reliance Infocomm will go ahead with the rollout of its CDMA-based wireless in local loop (WLL) services on December 27 even without the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) stamp on the tariff plan as it plans to offer a no-billing period up to March 31, 2003, to all its subscribers who sign up during the launch.

Company sources told eFE, The subscribers will not be billed for an initial period, thus there would be no tariffs. Trai is expected to approve the tariffs, which would simply not exist in the initial period. So, we will go ahead with the launch.

Reliance Infocomm has sought approval from Trai for what can be termed as a considerably cheap tariff plan of Rs 1.20 for three minutes. The company plans to charge its subscribers at the rate of 10 paise for 15 seconds. It would offer a 15-second pulse billing.

Sources added that the no-billing option for the code division multiple access (CDMA) based services would exist till March 31, 2003.

Thus, depending on when the company launches its service in various cities, the no-billing period could range from 15 days to three months after the launch of the service, they said.

The Reliance Infocomm spokesperson, when contacted, declined to comment on the issue.

Reliance Group chairman Mukesh Ambani has gone on record saying that customers would be asked to test the quality of service.

Sources said that at the time of the launch, subscribers who sign up initially would be offered the no-billing period during which they can use the WLL service and test the quality of the service without paying any charges.

That would also be the time when the company tests its network features like percentage of call drops, quality of voice, download time, etc.

The customers will be asked to register themselves with a security deposit initially, informed company officials. At the end of the no-billing period, which would be on till March 31, 2003, if the subscriber is satisfied with the service, he can continue with it and pay charges at the prevailing rates. If the subscriber is not satisfied with the service, he can decline the service and return the handset to receive a refund of his security deposit.

It was recently reported by this newspaper that the customers will have to pay Rs 24,600 over a period of three years, out of which Rs 3,000 will be upfront as membership fee, with 12 quarterly installments of Rs 1,800. The subscriber will get a handset in return worth Rs 10,500 and 400 minutes of outgoing calls every month. The package is also available on a down payment of Rs 14,500 with 400 minutes of outgoing calls each month for three years. But this plan doesnt include the free handset.