Mobile Call Connect Charges Slashed By Nearly 60%. How It Affects You

Mobile calls are now likely to cost less as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday decided to cut interconnection usage charges (IUC).

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Mobile Call Connect Charges Slashed By Nearly 60%. How It Affects You

TRAI said the new charges will be applicable from October 1.

Mobile calls are now likely to cost less as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday decided to cut interconnection usage charge (IUC) to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise earlier. This means that the rate has been slashed by over 57 per cent. The new charges will be applicable from October 1, the regulator said in a notification. "On the basis of comments received from stakeholders, in writing or during the open house discussion or during the workshop, the Authority has prescribed revised domestic mobile termination charges through these regulations," TRAI stated in the release.
Here are 10 things that you must know about this decision:
  1. Termination charges are payable by an operator whose subscriber originates the call to the other network in which the call terminates.
  2. Reliance Jio, which is the latest entrant in the telecom sector, had been seeking waiving of the charge saying that it will benefit the consumers.
  3. This move from TRAI will come as a shock to rival operators like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India as they termed the lesser IUC regime "detrimental for the industry".
  4. Apart from mobile calls, other types of calls, such as wire-line to mobile, wire-line to wireline and mobile to wire-line, TRAI said that the termination charge will continue to remain nil.
  5. The regulator also said that from January 1, 2020, the termination charge for all types of domestic calls will be zero.
  6. Last week Airtel and Jio were involved in a duel over the call connect charges. Airtel said: "We are amused to see that Reliance Jio has deliberately ignored the fact that IUC is an inter-operator settlement and no operator pays IUC for the on-net calls, as these are intra network calls. They have deliberately made this elementary error and mischievously used a completely flawed methodology just to justify the inflated numbers with a view to change perception." Airtel said.  
  7. To this, Jio responded by saying that Airtel misrepresented facts and reported false claim of loss from call connection charges. "We submit that all the contentions of Airtel are fallacious, not based on true facts and are misleading in nature. We request that the authority may take appropriate action against Airtel for such mischievous and frivolous submissions," Jio said in a letter to TRAI Chairman RS Sharma.
  8. Earlier, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao had also urged the government not to reduce mobile termination charges further.
  9. Meanwhile, TRAI also floated a consulatation paper to promote "ease of doing business" in the sector that has proposed time bound approvals, fees rationalisation and graded penalties, among others.
  10. The regulator has proposed that the entire process involved in installation of mobile towers and use of spectrum should be made online for quick and easy approvals. (With Agency Inputs)

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