No Free Calls: TRAI Defers Scrapping IUC Charges


The Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) has come up with a new consultation paper where the regulator has decided to continue to interconnection charges (IUC) for one year. This means there will be no free calls until January 2021, and callers have to pay 6 paise per minute.

No Free Calls: TRAI Defers Scrapping IUC Charges


"On the basis of comments received from stakeholders in writing and during the open house discussion, and its own analysis, the Authority has prescribed the revised date of applicability of Bill and Keep (BAK) regime, i.e. zero termination charges in respect of wireless to wireless domestic calls, with effect from January 1, 2021," TRAI said in a statement on Tuesday.

The development came after two years when TRAI decided to remove IUC from January 1, 2020. This decision will help Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, as both have posted the biggest loss in Q2 FY20. Besides, TRAI also stated that almost all telecom operators have revised tariffs from December and now hikes range between 15 to 50 percent. Accordingly, TRAI has decided to float this consultation paper so that all stakeholders can participate and give their views on this issue.

"We have highlighted that tariff correction is necessary for improving the financial health of the industry. The only option available is for the Regulator to intervene and correct the anomalous pricing situation prevailing in the market place," Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI, said in a statement. He said, "We believe that such Regulation will ensure that the Telecom industry remains healthy and robust. It will also provide confidence to investors to make available needed resources."

For the unaware, doing away with IUC means more outgoing calls to the other networks than the incoming ones. Furthermore, TRAI wants all stakeholder's opinions by 17th January 2020 and counter-comments by 31st January 2020.

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