TRAI May Not Scrap Interconnect Usage Charges for Another 2 Years

TRAI May Not Scrap  Interconnect Usage Charges for Another 2 Years

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) might make the shift to a zero IUC regime 2 years later meaning that Reliance Jio customers could be stuck with the 6 paise per minute charge for longer.

Reliance Jio has announced that for every outgoing call to other networks, it is going to charge its customers 6 paise per minute. With the latest developments in the industry, the timeline for this to happen has been postponed and now the telecom regulator will make the plunge to zero IUC a few years later. TRAI is likely to continue charging the 6 paise per minute IUC for two more years with the period beginning on January 2020. Previously, the talks had pointed towards the transition to zero IUC by this period. TRAI is going to stick with the current IUC charges. As per TRAI, the telecom industry currently remains under financially tensed situations, and it won’t be good for the industry to bear one more disruption. Given these situations, TRAI has decided to stick with the current IUC charges of 6 paise per minute. The change in IUC regulations or the lack thereof were at one time non affective for the subscribers, but with Reliance Jio’s new change, these rules now have deeper implications for the customers.

If TRAI plans on keeping up with the current IUC rates for two more years, then it means that the subscribers of Reliance Jio would also have to keep paying 6 paise per minute for all the outgoing calls that they make to other networks.

As per the report on this matter, all recharges done by Jio customers starting today, calls made to other mobile operators will be charged at the prevailing IUC rate of 6 paise per minute through IUC top-up vouchers till such time that TRAI moves to Zero termination charge regime.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

After Reliance Jio’s move, Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sunil Bharti Mittal and other notable executives have met with the Telecom Minister, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad seeking some action on the tariff front. The telecom minister had written to the Government seeking some relief.

DoT is also likely to give some relief to the telcos with a two-year moratorium on payment of deferred spectrum instalment or extending the payment period from the current 16 years by another two years.

Last time, TRAI had slashed the IUC charges was in September 2017 when it had brought down the IUC charges from 14 paise per minute to 6 paise per minute. The vision that time was to make a gradual shift to a zero-IUC regime.

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