Country’s largest telco Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it is dismayed with the TRAI’s amended regulation that reduced the IUC charges to 6 paise from existing 14 paise per minute of a voice call.
“As part of an industry, which continues to be a critical driving force behind the economic growth in the country, we are genuinely dismayed by this decision,” reads an Airtel official statement.
Yesterday, on 19 September, TRAI reduced the termination charges, that an operator pays to another operator where the call lands, to 6 paise from existing 14 paise, and the new charges will be applicable from 1 October.
Reacting to this development the Sunil Mittal-led firm had alleged that the new regulation suits only one operator and it will benefit the said operator immensely.
“The suggested IUC rate, which has been arrived at in a completely non-transparent fashion, benefits only one operator which enjoys a huge traffic asymmetry in its favour,” said Airtel in reference to Reliance Jio without directly naming it.
Jio and the incumbents telcos including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have been at loggerheads with TRAI on the IUC charges very since Jio launched its operations.
The incumbents wanted TRAI to increase the IUC charges, from current 14 paise to at least 30 paise, whereas Jio was demanding the regulator to abolish the IUC and implement BAK policy which asks for nill IUC charges.
The argument of incumbents is there a huge traffic asymmetry between incoming and outgoing calls from Jio’s network. Essentially it meant more people are making outgoing calls from Jio to other operators than the reverse, which means, the incumbent operators have to manage humongous number of incoming calls
“This also puts a lot of load on the network and affects its own customers,” Airtel had said earlier.
Airtel, in its observation to TRAI, had earlier said that while it takes at least 30 paise to maintain an incoming call, the IUC charge it gets per call is 14 paise, which impacts the financial health of the operator.
“The sharp drop in the IUC rate will only help transfer part of its cost to other operators, thereby further worsening the financial health of the industry,” Airtel said reacting to the development.