Airtel responded on Wednesday to Reliance Jio’s decision to charge users 6 paises per minute on rival network calls.
“One of our rivals has levied a 6-pay limit on all off-net calls made to other operators to cover the IUC (Interconnect User Charge) termination charge. They went on to say that TRAI had reopened this issue, “Airtel said in a statement.
The Indian Telecom Regulatory Authority last month issued a new consultation paper to review the January 2020 deadline for zero IUC charges. In 2017, the regulator reduced the IUC charges from 14 countries to 6 countries per minute.
“TRAI’s predictions were to determine two factors: one was the introduction of VoLTE, which TRAI believed would reduce costs. Second, with the rise of smaller operators, there would be traffic symmetry. Both of these have not materialized, “Airtel said.
The operator said that India still has 400 million 2 G customers who pay less than Rs 50 a month and can not afford a 4 G mobile. It also emphasized that there is still a great deal of traffic asymmetry.
“The telecommunications industry has been in a state of deep financial stress since the last three years, with several companies going bankrupt and thousands of jobs being lost. The IUC shall be determined on the basis of the price per call. Given the massive 2 G customer base in India, the cost of calling 6 countries is already considerably lower than the actual cost of completing the call, “said the operator.