Big telcos push for doubling of call termination charge

Reliance Jio Bharti Airtel Vodafone

But in India, IUC, which constituted only 10 per cent of the average tariff in 2003, has now climbed up to 45 per cent.

An email sent to Reliance Jio went unanswered.

"Incumbent operators have benefitted by nearly Rs 1 lakh crore in the last 5 years alone due to non-implementation of the TRAI Report of 2011", Jio said. DNA Money has a copy of the letter. But COAI's views do not represent views of Reliance Jio and Aircel. The market leader alleged that under the new IUC model, Jio will keep transferring its cost of Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore a year, to rivals, thus throttling competition.

It also asked Trai to postpone the open house discussion on "Review of IUC" scheduled on July 20 to a date which is at least four weeks after the sharing of the cost models and assumptions.

Trai in a Supreme Court affidavit in 2011 had said that telecom operators should be given time till 2014 to move to bill and keep regime.

Shares of Bharti Infratel (down 2.21 per cent) Reliance Communications (down 1.62 per cent) OnMobile Global (down 1.60 per cent) Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) (down 1.05 per cent) and Tata Communications (down 0.52 per cent) were trading in red while the S&P BSE Telecom index was trading nearly flat (up 0.02 per cent) at 1446 around 01:40 pm (IST).

However, industry body Cellular Operators Association of India's (COAI's) director-general Rajan Matthew said, "Earlier there was a net set off between the incumbent operators as the numbers of calls terminating between their networks were more or less symmetrical". Reducing IUC will dent their revenues, but will also bring down call charges. A senior executive from a telecom player said with the entry of RJio, there has been huge traffic originating from their network and they need to pay IUC which is why there is advocacy for zero IUC.

Taking a dig at established operators who are pushing for doubling mobile call termination charge, Jio said no new investment has been made in voice networks for the last 7-8 years, and that cost of voice networks have been recovered manifold.

The consultation paper on "Review of IUC" was released in August 2016 and the comments and counter comments were closed in October 2016.

Reliance Jio has now proposed zero IUC charges.

India's leading telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India on Tuesday suggested that a portion of phone tariffs called the "interconnection usage charge" be doubled, but newcomer Reliance Jio did not agree.

After Trai's open house session, the regulator will finalise its view on the issue. It may show its impact on the mobile calls cost.

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