The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has slashed the call termination charges from mobile to mobile to 6 paise per minute, from the current 14 paise. TRAI said the call termination charge will be applicable from next month. The interconnect usage charge for all types of domestic calls will be zero from 2020.
“For mobile to mobile, termination charge has been reduced from 14 paise per minute to 6 paise per minute w.e.f. 1st October, 2017. For other types of calls (such as wire-line to mobile, wire-line to wireline and wire-line to mobile) the termination charge would continue to remain zero.From 1st January, 2020 onwards the termination charge for all types of domestic calls shall be zero”, TRAI said in a statement.
This come as a big blow to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea cellular. All these telecom operators were in favor of doubling of interconnect usage charge (IUC) – it is basically what a service provider pays to another to link a call to latter’s network. These three telecom providers demanded to increase the interconnect usage charges (IUC) to 30 paise per minute. Reliance Jio, which is a new entrant in the telecom space, demanded scrapping of the interconnect usage charges (IUC).
“On the basis of comments received from stakeholders, in writing or during the open house discussion or during the workshop, the authority has prescribed revised domestic mobile termination charges through these regulations”, it added.
Vodafone has strongly reacted and released a statement over the telecom regulator’s decision to do away with interconnection charges.
“We are disappointed with this decision and are now considering our options in response to it. The Indian telecoms industry is already experiencing the greatest period of financial stress in its history. This is yet another retrograde regulatory measure that, unless mitigated, will have serious consequences for investment in rural coverage, undermining the Government’s vision of Digital India”, a Vodafone spokesperson said in a statement.