New Delhi, August 13: Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) is set to cut the interconnect fee which means calls will be cheaper for mobile phone users soon. As per the announcement, TRAI has decided to reduce the interconnect charge from 14 paise per minute to less than 10 paise per minute, which will impact the overall calling charge largely.
As per a report by Times of India, the Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) has been one contended issue, recently questioned by Reliance Jio, which termed IUC as an ‘artificial barrier’. Noteworthy that Jio with its free-lifetime calling plans, runs a massive bill due to the IUC cost of its users’ free calls.
Other companies like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea demanded an increase in the IUC as they reportedly earn thousands of crores of rupees from it. Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal in a letter to TRAI Chairman RS Sharma wrote that the current IUC rate is already below cost and requested the regulator to set the rate through ‘a fair and transparent mechanism’.
Rolled out in 2003, TRAI opted for a Calling Party-Pays (CPP) method in which incoming calls were free. In 2004, it was set to 30 paise per minute, 20 paise per minute in 2009 and finally 14 paise per minute in 2015. TOI quoted a source which said that 14 paise per minute in the present scenario is too high as data rates have crashed and networks are moving towards VoLTE and 4G. As per this source, there is a strong chance of reducing the IUC to as low as 3 paise per minute.