India’s Telecom Regulator Raises International Call Termination Charges
Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Friday said international call termination charges will be brought under forbearance but within the prescribed range of 35 to 65 paise per minute against a fixed rate of 30 paise/minute earlier.
International termination charge is the rate payable by an Indian International Long Distance Operator, who carries the call from outside the country to access provider in the country in whose network the call terminates.
While the regulator has given a range with floor and a ceiling, and left it to operators to set the rate under a forbearance regime, it has, however, mandated that operators will offer non-discriminatory rate for such termination charges to everyone.
The regulator has said that an access services provider will offer non-discriminatory rate of such termination charge to their own associated ILDOs as well as standalone players to ensure level-playing field between standalone and integrated companies.
"...the authority has decided that the rate of ITC shall be kept under forbearance within a prescribed range of Re 0.35 per minute to Re 0.65 per minute," TRAI said in its latest regulations.
The regulator said that as this new regulatory regime for the rate of international termination charge is being prescribed for the first time in the country, it will closely monitor its implementation, including the trends and patterns of international long distance voice traffic in the country.
"The authority, if it deems necessary, may review this regime as well as the rate of ITC in due course of time," it said.
A market watcher said that an international consumer calling India may have to pay a bit more, although finally much of that will depend on settlement and negotiation that take place in the international leg.
When contacted, industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India said this is a move in the "right direction" and that TRAI has taken into consideration the financial situation of the operators.
"This goes towards bringing parity with international operators," COAI’s Director General Rajan Mathews said.