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Hard copy of phone bill to continue as default option: TRAI
The demographic structure of India, literacy rate, size of non-eliterate population, limitation of senior citizens/disadvantaged groups and rural population, time is still not ripe for making e-bill a
Despite the fact, the current government wants to go paperless, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to continue with the existing regulatory provision as per which printed copy of the phone bills.
"The current provision of providing a hard copy of the bill free of cost as default option as per present provisions shall continue," Trai said after reviewing provisions for sending printed bills to postpaid subscribers.
However, the regulator said if anyone any customer opts for receipt of the bill through e-mail instead of hard copy, the service providers can supply the same after obtaining explicit consent from the consumers.
The Authority believes that it would be more convenient and feasible for the e-literate subscribers to make a choice for e-bill. In fact, a large number of subscribers of different segments who could not be persuaded to the e-bill mode would be those who have no internet access or are incapable to make an informed and effective choice.
It would be unfair to thrust e-bill as the default option on unwilling subscribers, TRAI said.
Keeping in view the demographic structure of India, literacy rate, size of non-eliterate population, limitation of senior citizens/disadvantaged groups and rural population, time is still not ripe for making e-bill as a default option.
It is hence decided that, for the present, the current provision of providing a hard copy of the bill free of cost as default option as per present provisions shall continue.
It also said various stakeholders expressed their views on the subject by way of written comments, counter comments and deliberation during the Open House Discussion held February this year in Delhi.
During the consultation, the telecom service providers strongly pleaded for changing the default option to electronic bill citing reasons such as for environmental concern, cost savings, timely bill delivery, and claiming that 90 percent of postpaid subscribers have opted for the paperless option.