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National MSOs to meet in Mumbai on gross billing issue

MUMBAI: The national multi-system operators (MSOs) are meeting on 3 January in Mumbai to discuss the smooth rollout of gross billing in Maharashtra. While the deadline set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to achieve 100 per cent customer application forms (CAFs) for phase II cities and submitting compliance report for gross billing for phase I cities came to an end on 31 December 2013, the MSOs have been unable to start gross billing in Maharashtra. The meeting has been called to discuss on the matter and come up with ways to ensure that gross billing begins in the state.

“Since the issue of entertainment tax, which is supposed to be included in the bills generated to the consumer, is in the Bombay High Court, we cannot start gross billing in the state. We will be meeting on Friday to discuss issues at hand,” informs a MSO who will be attending the meeting.

 The MSOs are claiming to have achieved 90-95 per cent CAF and also submitted the compliance report for Delhi and Kolkata to TRAI. “But, the situation is a little different in Maharashtra,” admits the MSO.

While no independent MSO will be a part of the meeting, the national players operating in Maharashtra: Hathway Cable & Datacom, DEN Networks, SitiCable and InCable will meet tomorrow.

But, the last mile operators (LMOs) have decided to not allow gross billing in Maharashtra. “The case is anyways in the Bombay High Court and so the MSOs cannot start gross billing in the state. Though Hathway has verbally agreed to give partial access to its subscriber management system (SMS) to the LMOs and said that while it will bill the LMOs, the latter can bill the subscriber, thus being the owner of its subscriber, there has been no response from DEN and IMCL on the same,” informs Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) president Arvind Prabhoo.

“We will not allow gross billing to start in Maharashtra till all the issues are resolved,” adds Prabhoo.

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