Reliance Jio asks TRAI to either reduce or remove IUC charges
- Reliance Jio is asking TRAI to either reduce or remove Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC).
- TRAI had initially planned to remove IUC charges from January 1, 2020 under the Bill and Keep (BAK) regime.
- Airtel and Vodafone Idea were against the move, citing huge costs involved in allowing incoming calls from the Jio network.
Reliance Jio approached the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to either reduce or remove Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC). Currently, IUC is charged at 6 paise per minute by the operator on whose network the calls terminate.
In October, Reliance Jio announced that it will start charging 6 paise per minute for calls that are made to other networks. This change was made on packs which promised complete free calling earlier. Jio-to-Jio calls however continued to remain free. At the time, Jio noted that this charge would be levied until TRAI removes IUC charges.
TRAI had initially planned to remove IUC charges from January 1, 2020 under the Bill and Keep (BAK) regime. However, incumbent operators Airtel and Vodafone Idea were against the move, citing huge costs involved in allowing incoming calls from the Jio network.
Last week, TRAI held an open discussion on “Review of Interconnection Usage Charges”. Jio’s representative at the discussion held that since voice calling symmetry has been achieved between Jio and the incumbent operators, there was no need to levy IUC charges anymore.
The company held that the BAK regime should be implemented as planned from January 1, 2020. The implementation of this regime would bring down IUC charges to zero.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea opposed this argument and demanded that IUC charges of 6 paise per minute should be levied for the next three years at least.
Reliance Jio alleged that Airtel and Vodafone Idea were diverting their incoming voice call traffic to 2G or 3G networks to inflate their voice call costs. This could hold some merit as we’ve experienced that incoming voice calls on Airtel’s network are routed via 2G, which puts the Jio 4G network on pause temporarily even on a compatible dual 4G VoLTE smartphone.
Airtel however denied these allegations. Vodafone Idea, on its part, did not expressly deny this and stated that subscribers were free to port out of their network.
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