Telecom regulator Trai today said it has decided to review interconnection usage charges (IUC) -- paid by one operator to another for connecting phone calls -- after receiving request from operators themselves.
Telecom regulator Trai today said it has decided to review interconnection usage charges (IUC) — paid by one operator to another for connecting phone calls — after receiving request from operators themselves. “(For) IUC, I think lot of you have criticised me. A lot of people said we were biased, they said we were doing it for some operators… The need for review is instigated or whatever you call… It is at the request of telecom service providers that I am reveiwing it,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman RS Sharma said at an event here.
He added that first chapter of the consultation paper also specifies as to why a necessity has arisen for a review.
Sharma cited the example of a scheme announced by BSNL that allowed customers travelling abroad to make calls from their mobile phones using their landline connection back home without attracting ISD charges by downloading the state-run operators app.
“TSPs (telecom service providers) said it wasn’t correct because this was some sort of a hybrid solution. (It was) avoiding a lot of interconnect charges…So we told BSNL to hold the service. We will have a comprehensive review and therefore, there was this need to review it.
“So it wasn’t something I could put off because they (operators) said they had spend Rs 2,000 crore in putting up some next-gen network,” he added.
At present, the termination charge for a mobile to mobile local and national long distance call is pegged at 14 paise per minute, while the termination charges for international incoming call to wireless and wireline stands at 53 paise per minute.
Trai had prescribed zero domestic termination charge for calls originating/ending on wireline networks, aimed at promoting adoption of landlines.
In its consultation paper on IUC, Trai had sought public views on how domestic termination charges should be computed – cost based or Bill and Keep (BAK) – for “maximisation of consumer welfare”, adoption of more efficient technologies and growth of the telecom sector in the country.