TRAI Open House Calls For Zero Mobile Termination Charge From Next Year

Except for beleaguered telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, all participants at an open house urged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday to implement zero mobile termination charge from January 1 next year as committed by the telecom regulator.

The open house organised by TRAI came amid a war of words with Airtel and Vodafone in favour of retaining the interconnect user charges (IUCs). TRAI Chairman R S Sharma said the final decision will be taken as soon as possible.

A day earlier, Airtel and Vodafone together reported a whopping Rs 74,000 crore loss in the July to September quarter of current financial year after making provisions for their liabilities. They maintain that the telecom sector is facing an unprecedented crisis after the recent Supreme Court judgement on definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

Others disagree. Reliance Jio said that delaying implementation of zero call connect charges beyond January 2020 will hurt affordability of telecom services in a sector where users have benefited from free voice calls.

“The ratio of incoming and outgoing call is now at par with each other and traffic asymmetry can thus no longer be the reason to delay implementation of the Bill and Keep (BAK) regime (that is zero mobile termination charge from January 1),” said Reliance Jio Director Mahendra Nahata.

Bacchan, who runs a call centre in Amritsar, participated in the open house to raise voice for termination of IUC.

Bejon Mishra, Founder of Consumer Guidance Society, also said that IUC must be abolished. “We are here because we believe in the regulator, we believe in the law. We came here to protect the consumers and affordable connectivity,” he said.―Business Standard

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