Reliance Jio appeals TRAI to do away with IUC charges

Reliance Jio continues to press for zero IUC charges to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI), in hopes of doing away with the outgoing call charges that were imposed recently.

A month ago, Jio made an announcement that calls to other networks will now be chargeable, compromising one of the key selling points of the Reliance-owned network. However, they went on to explain why this change came in.

On October 9, TRAI passed a policy change which effectively compelled Jio to start recovering interconnecting user charges (IUC). These charges are applicable when Jio users would call someone using another network, and had to be passed on to the consumer. This led to Jio calls no longer being entirely free.

TRAI held a “Review of Interconnection User Charges” open house discussion on November 15 to look into the matter. During the discussion, Mahendra Nahata, the Director at Jio Infocomm, appealed on the implementation of zero-IUC charges. 

He explained that “When you had implemented 6 paise charge, 4G traffic was one per cent. Today that traffic is much higher so the costs must have come down.” IUC is not applicable on VoLTE calls (Voice over LTE), and the entirety of calls from Jio are based on VoLTE.

“The traffic asymmetry is no longer there”

Moreover, the traffic asymmetry between Jio and other networks is now “at par with other operators”, a significant improvement to the 90% outgoing and 10% incoming voice calls that the company had in 2017. Nahata also added that even the BAK (Bill and keep) regime should be implemented now, so the networks can mutually agree to terminate calls from each other at no charge.

“The reason of traffic asymmetry is no longer there, for delaying the zero termination charge from January 1, 2020”, he explained, urging TRAI to at least lower the IUC from 6 paise.

On the flipside, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea said that the 6 paise interconnecting user charges should stay for at least three more years. TRAI will be taking the points into consideration and pass a new regulation in the coming weeks. No timeline was suggested.

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