Telephone calls not getting cheaper for one more year; TRAI defers scrapping IUC charges

By: |
December 17, 2019 5:28 PM

Telecom regulator TRAI has extended the last date of scrapping IUC by a year and customers will be able to enjoy calls without any interconnect usage charges only from 1st January 2021.

iuc, vodafone, jio, airtelTRAI’s latest move is likely to bring relief to Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd.

Telecom regulator TRAI has extended the last date of scrapping IUC by a year and customers will be able to enjoy calls without any interconnect usage charges only from 1st January 2021. “For wireless to wireless domestic calls, termination charge would continue to remain as Re 0.06 (paise six only) per minute up to 31st December, 2020. From 1st January, 2021 onwards the termination charge for wireless to wireless domestic calls shall be zero,” TRAI announced in a press release on Tuesday. Since telecom firms have been asked to pay IUC till December next year, the same will also reflect on customers’ accounts. The operators will continue to earn Re 0.06 for every call received from another operator. 

“On the basis of comments received from stakeholders in writing and during the open house discussion, and its own analysis, the Authority has prescribed the revised date of applicability of Bill and Keep (BAK) regime i.e. zero termination charges in respect of wireless to wireless domestic calls w.e.f 1st January 2021 through these Regulations,” Trai added. Telecom companies had asked for an extension of two-three years on IUC. Telecom companies had recently announced a hike across their tarrifs with Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio also introducing tariffs with limited minute to non-Jio callers.

TRAI’s latest move is likely to bring relief to Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd, as both of them earn a portion of their revenue from IUC. Both Voda-Idea and Airtel have higher incoming than outgoing calls and hence were against the scrapping of IUC. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, wanted the charges to be scrapped. Of Jio’s total calls, about 64% of its total traffic was outgoing. The telecom regulator had earlier proposed that the IUC charges must be lowered from 14 paise earlier. The regulator had also proposed an end to IUC from 1 January 2020.

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