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Last Updated: Sun, Apr 16, 2023

The Ultimate Guide To Billing Increments

Learn how telecom carriers and service providers charge for phone calls.

What are billing increments?

Billing increments indicate the (1) minimum and (2) incremental measures of time that are used to calculate the duration of each phone call for billing purposes.

What are common billing increments?

Billing increments are written as 2 numbers which are in seconds.

The first number is the minimum billing increment. The second number is the increment itself.

  • 60/60 (1.0 minute/1.0 minute)
  • 3030 (0.5 minute/0.5 minute)
  • 30/6 (0.5 minute/0.1 minute)
  • 6/6 (0.1 minute/0.1 minute)

It's important to know the minimum as the increment could be the same.

Another way of describing 6 second increments is 'tenths of a minute' or '.1' or '1/10'.

What is rounding?

Rounding refers to how the duration of each phone call is 'rounded up' (not down) to the minimum or increment.

For example, if the billing increment is 60/60, a 45 second call will be rounded up to 60 seconds or 1 minute. Also, 20 second call will be rounded up rounded up to 60 seconds or 1 minute as well. Lastly, a phone call that is 82 seconds or 1 minute and 22 seconds will be rounded up to 2 minutes.

Why are smaller billing increments are better?

Larger billing increments like 30 and 60 seconds are very costly because of rounding. A 6 second phone call is automatically 'rounded' up to the 30 or 60 second billing increment. Over the course of 100's or 1000's of phone calls, this can significantly inflate the total cost.

Lower billing increments lead to lower costs per phone call. Automated calling campaigns with Sigma Voice use 6/6 second billing increments just like our carriers.

To learn more, please visit our pricing.

Smaller billing increments are cheaper for the customer. In some cases, the total cost can be significantly less. 

Let's compare 2 billing increments on a voice broadcasting campaign with 1,000 connected calls and an average call duration of 35 seconds.

60/60 Billing Increments

35 seconds is rounded up to 60 seconds or 1 minute

1,000 * 60 seconds = 60,000 seconds/60 seconds or 1,000 minutes

6/6 Billing Increments

35 seconds is rounded up to 36 seconds

1,000 * 36 seconds = 36,000 seconds/60 seconds or 600 minutes

As you can see the same number of connects and the same average call duration leads to 2 different totals or minutes used. 

The larger billing increments leads to 1,000 minutes used versus the smaller billing increments leads to only 600 minutes used.

Billing Increments Table

Please review the billing increments for calls ranging from 0 seconds to 72 seconds long. Using this can help chart your total cost for a calling campaign.

Call Length Billing Increment
0 sec 0
1-6 sec 1/10 or 0.1
7-12 sec 2/10 or 0.2
13-18 sec 3/10 or 0.3
19-24 sec 4/10 or 0.4
25-30 sec 5/10 or 0.5
31-36 sec 6/10 or 0.6
37-42 sec 7/10 or 0.7
43-48 sec 8/10 or 0.8
49-54 sec 9/10 or 0.9
55-60 sec 10/10 or 1.0
61-66 sec 11/10 or 1.1
67-72 sec 12/10 or 1.2


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