EghtesadOnline: Telecommunications Company of Iran, the country’s sole landline service provider, has stopped issuing paper bills in eight provinces and is on track to switch to electronic billing nationwide.
According to TCI, landline subscribers in Khuzestan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Fars, Kerman, Gilan, Lorestan, Hormozgan and Kurdestan do not receive paper bills anymore, Peivast reported.
Instead of paper bills, TCI will send text messages to subscribers.
Mohammad Reza Bidkham, communications and international relations office at TCI, said the company is gathering subscribers' data to gradually eliminate paper bills throughout the country, according to Financial Tribune.
However, he added, "The company should still be able to print period-based reports for subscribers, if necessary. Hence, we are working to upgrade and prepare our systems."
The pilot phase of the electronic billing scheme was launched in July 2017 and six million of the company’s subscribers received their bills via text messages.
TCI has over 30 million subscribers, for a majority of whom paper bills are still issued every two months.
Bidkham said the cost of paper and printing bills has registered an eightfold jump compared with a year ago, just like the price of other commodities in the domestic market.
"The scheme will significantly reduce TCI’s billing costs," he said.
In addition to curbing overheads, one major advantage of switching to electronic billing is the environmental advantage of reducing paper use.
According to official reports, Iranians’ per capita paper consumption annually is 25 kilograms.
“Twelve trees should be felled to produce 1 ton of 100% non-recycled newsprint,” he added.
ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi earlier told reporters that the nationwide switch to electronic billing system for all utility services (water, power, gas and landline and mobile phones) will save 14.4 trillion rials ($110.7 million) annually, which is currently spent on printing paper utility bills.
A scheme for switching from electricity paper billing to digital billing was unveiled in Tehran by the Energy Ministry in June.
As per the scheme, instead of issuing paper bills, electricity power distribution companies across the country are set to stop issuing paper bills by mid-September and switch to e-billing.