The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has decided to reduce mobile interconnect usage charges (IUC) from 14 paise a minute now to 6 paise a minute beginning 1 October. The regulator also said that there will be no call termination charges from 1 January 2020.
The move to cut interconnection charges by as much as 57 per cent will to benefit mobile phone users while also helping to put an end to the long-pending issue of mobile IUC or termination charges.
With around 92 per cent of calls from Reliance Jio network terminating on incumbent networks and only the remaining 8 per cent terminating on Jio's network, the Trai move is expected to cause a big dent in revenues of incumbent telcos while giving a Rs4,000-crore boost to Reliance Jio.
Trai said the decision to phase out mobile call termination charges was taken on the basis of the comments and counter comments from stakeholders and subsequent open-house discussions with them.
"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," Trai said in a statement.
Termination charges are the charges payable by a telecom network where a call originates to the network where the call terminates.
Trai said termination charges on calls from mobile to wire line and vice versa will continue to remain zero while from 1 January 2020 termination charge for all types of domestic calls will be zero.
Trai issued a consultation paper for review of the IUC on 5 August last year to seek stakeholders' views on various aspects of the existing IUC Regulation that came into effect from March 2015.
Based on the comments and counter comments from stakeholders and open-house discussions with them in the consequent months, TRAI has decided to revise the domestic mobile termination charges through these regulations.
While newcomer Reliance Jio argued for an end to call termination charges, incumbent telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular wanted the charges to be raised further instead.