SC rejects Trais plea on interconnectivity

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 20 2012, 05:47am hrs
The Supreme Court has rejected Trais plea seeking permission to notify a regulation related to revised interconnection usage charges (IUC).

A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi said that ... there is no justification to entertain the prayer made in the applications, which are hereby dismissed. The main appeals be listed for final disposal on July 10 along with the connected appeals. However, it directed that Trais main petition along with other appeals pending before it on the issue will be heard on July 10.

Earlier, the apex court in February last year had asked the telecom regulator to evolve a new set of revenue-sharing norms and other regulations on interconnectivity among operators for carrying calls of one network through others.

The telecom regulator in its application stated that it had proceeded with the consultation process for framing/amending IUC regulations in December 2010 and had computed the charges by including and excluding capital costs as per the directions of the apex court given in February 4 last year.

The review exercise relating to IUC are required to the notified by Trai in exercise of its powers under sections 11(1)(b)(i), (iii) and (iv) of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, it said.

The Supreme Court has given the directions after Trai had challenged the TDSAT order that set aside on September 29, 2010 the Trais Interconnection Usage Charges (Regulation), 2009 and asked the telecom regulator to bring out fresh interconnection norms and regulations in consultations with various stakeholders.

The Trais 2009 IUCR were quashed after state-run BSNL and private operators - Bharti, Vodafone, CDMA lobby group AUSPI and others had objected to the telecom regulators order. The tribunal also directed Trai to complete the whole exercise in a time bound manner, so that the new regulation could be made effective from January 1, 2011.

In its regulation on March 9, 2009, Trai had reduced termination charges for all types of domestic calls such as landline to landline, landline to mobile, mobile to landline and mobile to mobile to 20 paise per minute from 30 paise per minute.