Cellular operators’ association COAI has favoured a steep hike in international termination charges to Rs 3.50 a minute against 53 paise per minute at present. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is currently in the midst of reviewing these rates, paid by foreign carriers for terminating international calls in India.
“Today, there is a 20:1 imbalance between incoming and outgoing international calls. In order to adjust the imbalance, you need to go to Rs 3.50 on a weighted average basis, to correct the arbitrage,” COAI Director General Rajan Mathews told PTI. COAI has argued there is a need to bridge the gap between blended termination rate paid by Indian operators for outgoing
international calls and the termination rates received by them on international incoming calls.
Mathews sought to draw a distinction between termination charge complexities that come into play for domestic and international calls. “International interconnect rates are not as simple as domestic because there are multiple countries with their own regulatory processes and they set their own rates. Also there are currency fluctuations to deal with,” Mathews added.
The blended termination rate paid by Indian operators is around Rs 3.50 a minute for outgoing international calls compared to 53 paise per minute termination rate received by them on incoming international calls, COAI has contended.
“Therefore, we are saying that our operators are at a disadvantage because we end up paying precious foreign exchange out. The problem with international is that (Indian) regulator has no control on the other side (for outgoing call termination charges) so other side is free to charge whatever they want,” he said.
TRAI will come out with a separate regulation on the international termination charges. 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.