TRAI Invites Public Comments To Review Mobile Call Termination Rate Deadline
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India invited public views to review the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline for service providers to end interconnect usage charges.
A telecom operator pays for connecting calls of its subscribers to the company on whose network a call is made. Currently, an operator is required to pay 6 paise per minute as mobile call termination charges, called interconnect usage charges, which is proposed to be made nil from Jan. 1, 2020.
Telecom operators with large number of subscribers gain from IUC as most of the calls are made within their network while net payout for service providers with lower subscriber base is higher.
At present, Reliance Jio leads mobile market with 339.7 million subscribers followed by Bharti Airtel with 328 million customers. Vodafone Idea in July reported decline in customer base to 320 million in the first quarter of 2019-20. BSNL has mobile customer base of 116 million.
TRAI said it has seen rapid adoption of modern technology in the country's mobile networks since the time it lowered IUC from 14 paise to 6 paise from Oct. 1, 2017 onwards.
Though the imbalance in the inter-operator off-net traffic is reducing over a period, it still exist.TRAI’s statement
The regulator said it has proposed a bill and keep regime in which no operator raises bill for IUC, after analysing that the regime will reduce the inter-operator off-net traffic imbalance.
TRAI said it has received representations from some interested parties about revision of the existing IUC regime. The regulator has sought public views on whether there is a need “to revise the applicable date for BAK regime— zero mobile termination charge, from Jan. 1, 2020”.
Last date for comments on the paper is Oct. 18 and for counter comment it is Nov. 1, 2019.