In an open house held by the Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI), Airtel and Vodafone were the only telecom operators opposed to ending Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC), News18 reported via IANS.
BSNL, MTNL and Jio were among the 155 participants who attended to discuss the January 1, 2020 date for the Bill and Keep (BAK) regime, which would replace the 6 paisa IUC, it quoted sources say.
The January date was IUC was decided in a 2017 TRAI regulation paper, which was supported by the house SS Sirohi, former Member (Technology), Telecom Commission said.
He added, “After wide consultations, it was decided that the B&K regime is the best regime for telecom and should be implemented at the earliest.”
Sirohi further said that removing IUC would maximise consumer welfare by making way for “adequate choice, affordable tariff and good quality and innovative services in a sustainable manner”.
IUC is the charge the operator of a network on which a call originates pays to the network where the call terminates.
BAK, on the other hand, entails net IUC payment as zero. Here, each network agrees to terminate calls from the other network at no charge.
For example, when a Jio subscriber makes a call (originator) to an Airtel subscriber (receiver) or vice versa, as per the agreement between Jio and Airtel, there will be nor charges either way.
It thus effectively ensures that no TSP recover its costs of operations from competitors and, thereby, would enable greater competition in the sector.
In 2017, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notified that IUC would go by January 2020 only to retract on its stand by issuing a fresh consultation paper on the issue throwing the telecom sector into turmoil.
It is puzzling that TRAI wants to revisit IUC when its 2017 explanatory memorandum clearly enunciated why this charge should go.
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