The newbie of the telecom sector has called upon the telecom watchdog to cut rates of international call termination to 6 Paise each minute, and then to nil, altering its position and breaking ranks with bigger contenders who need the charges to be stepped up from 53 Paise at present to Rs 1, setting the grounds for one more bitter war between the two sides.
At present, share is approximately Rs 5,000 Crore of income from international incoming calls, most of which are ended on the networks of the Big 3—Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Idea Cellular—who regulate more than 60% of wireless user base of India, and thus might one more time take a hit by any decision to reduce or scrap the ITR (international termination rate). This rate is given by the overseas carrier, on which the call sources, to the domestic operator.
Jio has called for a sharp lowering in ITR due to the rising fame of OTT calls (FaceTime audio, WhatsApp calls, and many more), which are complimentary. A reduction in ITR will lower the price of calls to India, even though they will still not be as affordable as calls carried over over-the-top (OTT) apps. Apart from this, Jio feels that ITR must be the same as the local IUC (interconnect usage charge), which has been lowered from October 1, 2017, to 6 Paise per minute.
The views of new entrant on the fee given by overseas carriers for terminating international calls in India appeared to have taken the bigger operators by shock. “Reliance Jio has requested for similar charge for international and domestic, which is now at discrepancy with what the remaining membership is deciding on, which is an elevated termination fee,” claimed director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India, Rajan Mathews, to the media in an interview.
The lobby organization that represents all huge telecom companies comprising Jio was present last week at the workshop. It had claimed last week that all providers, included Jio, wished ITR to be increased to Rs 1. COAI also wished ITR to be increased to Rs 3.50 in the subsequent stage.