TRAI revises IUC (Interconnect charges) to 6 paise/minute, effective Oct 1


TRAI announcing the new call termination charge said it will be applicable from October 1, 2017, and from January 1, 2020, it will be completely eliminated.

Rajan Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry lobby that represents the interests of the mobile phone industry, termed the move disastrous and said it would invite legal action.

Industry analysts feel the decision will benefit Jio, which was at the forefront pressing for lower ICU and eventually scrapping it.

Losses to BhartiAirtel, Vodafone and Idea were estimated at over Rs 1,000 crore each.

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According to PTI, TRAI on Tuesday said, "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".

"Interconnect charges (are) important in the current scenario, where traffic asymmetries have increased to unprecedented level of 10:1 as the new operator (Reliance Jio) offers free voice service", Birla wrote. The companies have, however, been countered equally aggressively by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, a company that heralded the new dirt-cheap tariff regime September a year ago when it launched its services with life-time free voice calling and very-low data tariffs. "And that is going to be a problem because the amount of revenues involved will be very large and the guys who are existing incumbents are not going to take it sitting down", he said.

The letter, accessed by BusinessLine, says that introducing a BAK regime or reducing the IUC in India is likely to have adverse consequences for investment and ultimately, it will be to the detriment of consumers.

Established telecom operators have argued that every call on the network has a cost, and expenses of an incoming call on their network should be borne by the operator from whose network, the call has originated.