Talk for 5 seconds, pay for 5 seconds - mobile ‘per second’ billing comes into force
Before the regulation came into force, clients were being charged per minute regardless of the length of the call, where a 30-second call cost the same as a 60-second call. (Clive Camille)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Mobile users in Seychelles are now being charged for the exact duration of their local mobile calls through the per second billing regulation that came into force on January 1, which is aimed at lowering the cost of calls.
The regulation, which falls under the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Act 2000, requires every licensed operator of a mobile network to implement per second billing for all local calls made by customers of pre-paid and post-paid mobile services.
The director general for communications at the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), Jeffrey Dogley, told SNA on Tuesday that “the price that service providers are charging clients has not changed - the regulation simply obliges operators to charge per second rather than per minute.”
Before the regulation came into force, clients were being charged per minute regardless of the length of the call, where a 30-second call cost the same as a 60-second call, for example.
Dogley said that in many countries, competition between service providers allowed for per second billing to be introduced.
“In Seychelles, this did not happen and this is why the regulator found it necessary to step in and introduce this regulation. Furthermore, we found that in Seychelles the price for local mobile calls is quite expensive,” continued Dogley.
The per second billing regulation applies only to local mobile calls and not to international or landline calls.
Cable and Wireless Seychelles and Airtel Seychelles are the only two companies providing mobile services in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
In an interview with the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), the director for human resources and customer care at Airtel Seychelles, Maria Pouponneau, said that “clients on unlimited plans will not be affected as they have a fixed rental.”
Discussing the potential loss that the company might make, Pouponneau said that Airtel Seychelles is looking more at promoting customer satisfaction.
“If a client is more satisfied with the service, this means that we will get more clients and we benefit in another way. It doesn't mean that we will raise prices in other areas to counteract the loss we are making,” said Pouponneau.