"It has been observed that reducing termination rates (IUC) has benefitted consumers and enhanced competition".
In a letter to Trai chief R.S. Sharma last month, Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said the call termination cost of a typical Indian cellular firm worked out to 30-35 paise a minute.
In its statement on Tuesday evening, TRAI stated "For mobile to mobile, termination charge has been reduced from 14 paisa per minute to 6 paisa per minute wef". "Even if IUC was lowered by half a paise, it would have gone to court", said a senior industry executive. 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 a latter's network.
Late Tuesday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India lowered the interconnect usage charge, paid by the mobile operator originating a call to the network where it is received, to 6 paise a minute effective October 1 and chose to scrap the charge from January 1, 2020.More news: 'Limited' Odell Beckham quiet in injury return; Why did Giants even bother?
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Trai added that there would be no call termination charges applicable from 1 January 2020. The Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) has been one contended issue, recently questioned by Reliance Jio, which termed IUC as an "artificial barrier".
The telecom regulator had reduced the interconnect charges in 2015 to just 14 paise a call, much to the chagrin of state-run entities BSNL and MTNL as it reduced their revenues drastically. Charges levied for interconnecting mobile calls are at the centre of the IUC issue.
"Lower termination charges are, therefore, likely to benefit consumers overall (both fixed and mobile) because operators will have greater retail pricing flexibility".
The debate over the charge was revived in August past year, when Trai issued a consultation paper proposing to review it. Reliance Jio, the latest entrant in the telecom market, wanted the charge to be lowered and the existing calling-partypays regime eventually scrapped.