After fixing the contentious domestic mobile call termination rates, the telecom regulator is all set to meet the operators this month to review international termination charge, a senior Trai official said. The meeting with international long distance operators and the access providers is likely on October 16. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will ask the operators to give a presentation on the global practices, factors affecting such rates and suggest suitable methods for deriving the international termination charges.
Trai will come out with a separate regulation on the international termination charges, currently pegged at 53 paise per minute, the official said. The issue had formed a part of the consultation paper on Interconnection Usage Charges or IUC but was carved out for separate deliberations by the regulator. Last month, Trai decided to slash the charge paid by an operator for terminating a domestic mobile call on a rival network — also called mobile termination charge — to 6 paise a minute, from 14 paise.
It had further said no such charge would apply from January 1, 2020. The new IUC regulation – which caused a furore in the industry – came into effect from October 1. The consultation paper on IUC, of which international settlement rates and termination charge overhaul is a part, had sought stakeholder views on approach that should be taken for prescribing such charges in the country, and whether they should be kept uniform for all terminating networks.
Another issue it raised was on sustainability of standalone ILDOs (international long distance operators), given the presence of integrated service providers (having both international long distance and access service licenses), and remedy for the same. The international settlement rates or international termination charge to be paid to the Indian access provider is decided domestically. “During discussions, operators have submitted that the termination charge for international calls fixed by the authority, puts the Indian access providers in a hugely disadvantageous situation vis-à-vis foreign service operators, as termination charges in some other countries are 8 to 10 times higher than international termination charges in India,” the Trai paper had said. On the other hand, some operators are of the view that there is no extra cost involved in terminating the international call, and, therefore, termination charges for domestic and international calls should be same, it had pointed out.