Mobile operators seek doubling of IUC

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Luglio 19, 2017

The company has said a cost of carrying incoming calls on its network is 30 paise without taking into account the license fee and 34 paise after including it.

Top operators including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone on Tuesday pitched for doubling the interconnection usage charge (IUC), while newer rival Reliance Jio has suggested a zero IUC regime at the workshop organised by regulator TRAI on the issue, according to sources.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which held a daylong workshop on Tuesday, said it would soon give its recommendations on IUC after having issued the consultation paper almost a year ago. Some operators were of the view that we should go to bill and keep, other asked for reducing it, some said keep it constant at current level. "Some others said that it should be increased", TRAI Chairman RS Sharma said after a day long workshop.

Replying to question of whether some operators have sought increasing the ICU to 30-35 paise from 14 paise now, the TRAI Chairman replied affirmatively. Before 2009, the IUC for a mobile-to-mobile call was 30 paise a minute. Essentially the philosophy is that it should cover the cost.

Separately on Tuesday, telecom minister Manoj Sinha met with finance minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the issue of financial stress in the industry caused by high debt of almost Rs 5 lakh crore in the sector - pegged at Rs 7.29 lakh crore by banks.

However, Jio is learnt to have said that the bill and keep (BAK) model should be adopted, and hence IUC should be brought down to zero.

While Bharti and Idea pressed for a 30 paise per minute charge, Vodafone made a case for 40 paise per minute. Trai is now reviewing the IUC regime. The IUC is fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

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