Phone calls to cost less from April 14

Kathmandu, March 31

Mobile phone subscribers will soon be charged for the exact call duration, as domestic telecom companies will have to reduce their mobile pulse duration of calls to one second.

Nepal Telecommunications Authority, the telecommunication sector regulator, has directed telecom operators in the country to bring down the pulse duration of mobile calls in two phases -- to 10 seconds from April 14 and to one second from October 18.

Pulse duration refers to the minimum billing unit of phone calls. Currently, mobile pulse is fixed at 20 seconds. This means that a mobile user will have to pay charges equivalent to 20 seconds even if he or she makes a call for less than 20 seconds and pay for 40 seconds if s/he makes calls between 20 and 40 seconds. Reducing mobile pulse to one second means that users will be charged for the exact duration of each call.

“We have directed telecom operators to reduce the pulse duration from the Nepali New Year to ensure that people are only billed for the time they talk on phone,” said Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA.

He added that reduction in pulse duration will bring down the overall cost for phone subscribers.

From October 18 users will be charged for the exact duration of each call

In the first phase, beginning April 14, NTA has directed telecom companies to reduce pulse duration to 10 seconds for mobile calls, 60 seconds for PSTN (landline phones) and 30 seconds for international calls. In the second phase, beginning October 18, NTA has directed telecom operators to reduce pulse duration to one second for mobile phones and 10 seconds for international calls. However, such minimum billing unit for PSTN phones has been fixed at 60 seconds.

As domestic telecom companies have fixed their own pulse for different calls, implementation of the new pulse duration for calls will help maintain uniformity in service from telecom companies, according to Aryal.

There are six telecom operators in the country, namely Nepal Telecom, Ncell, UTL, Smart Telecom, Nepal Satellite Telecom and STM Telecom.

According to Aryal, the new pulse duration for calls is being implemented after consultation with domestic telecom operators. “However, NTA will cross-check whether or not the telcos follow the directive strictly,” he added.