Since late 2019, Jio users have been required to pay 6 paise per minute for every voice call made to a non-Jio customer.
With effect from January 1, Reliance Jio users will be able to make ‘free’ domestic voice calls to non-Jio customers. This is because TRAI is ending Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) for all domestic voice calls from 1st January 2021 and Jio is “honouring its commitment to revert off-net domestic voice-call charges to zero.” On-net domestic voice calls have always been free for Jio users.
This means all Jio users will be able to make free domestic voice calls to customers of Vodafone-Idea, Airtel, BSNL and other telecom networks from January 1. Since late 2019, Jio users have been required to pay 6 paise per minute for every voice call made to a non-Jio customer–though Jio did sweeten the deal by offering free 1GB of data for every 10-rupee paid. Jio to Jio domestic voice calls have remained free since the time the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) started Jio 4G operations in India in 2016.
“When TRAI extended the timeline for implementation of the Bill & Keep regime beyond 1st January 2020, Jio was left with no option but to start charging its customers for offnet voice calls, at a rate exactly equivalent to the applicable IUC charge,” Jio said in a statement, adding that, “today, Jio has made off-net voice calls free again” following TRAI’s decision to abolish IUC charges from January 1.
What is IUC?
Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC is the price one telco has to pay to the other when its customers make outgoing calls to their customers. This price which is set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI is currently fixed 6 paise/minute.
In line with this directive, Jio has been charging its customers an equivalent amount–6 paise/minute–for making calls to non-Jio networks. With the directive coming to an end on January 1, Jio is basically rolling back these charges making its ‘voice’ service virtually free for users once again. Jio, when it was launched in 2016, and before TRAI’s ruling in 2019, was offering free Jio to Jio and Jio to non-Jio users.