Setback for Jio! Trai defers zero IUC till January 1; Vodafone-Idea, Airtel to benefit
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday deferred the introduction of zero IUC or interconnect usage regime for a year to January 2021.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday deferred the introduction of zero IUC or interconnect usage regime for a year to January 2021. The move comes as a setback for Reliance Jio but is expected to be welcomed by Airtel and Vodafone Idea. This means that telecom operators will continue to pay 6 paise per minute charge if customers make call to other networks.
"For wireless to wireless domestic calls, termination charge would continue to remain as Re 0.06 (paise six only) per minute up to 31st December, 2020. From 1st January, 2021 onwards the termination charge for wireless to wireless domestic calls shall be zero," Trai said in its regulation.
While Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have urged the regulator to postpone implementation of the zero-IUC regime, as they are net revenue earners, Reliance Jio, a net payer, had vehemently opposed any deferral.
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COAI has welcomed the decision and believes that it is in the right direction.
"This is a welcome step in the right direction. COAI has always maintained that in a CPP (Calling Party Pays) format that we follow in India, there should always be cost based IUC, in line with global practice. We look forward to continuing support from the government and regulator to address the severe financial stress in the telecom sector," Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI told Zee Business Online, in an email statement.
In September, the regulator had issued a discussion paper on deferring the implementation of the zero-interconnect usage charges (IUC) regime, saying that consumers are yet to migrate completely to data calls and that the lack of symmetry in voice traffic between operators still exists.
A month later, Jio had introduced a new set of tariff plans with additional IUC. It now offers limited IUC minutes to its customers.
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