Reliance Jio has announced that it will levy a charge of 6 paise per minute for all the calls made on rival networks, starting today.
Jio has promised to offset the charge by offering customer free internet to its customers. All the calls made to Jio Mobiles and Jio landlines will remain free.
Mukesh Ambani led Jio claims that they have passed the charge on to their customers to offload the interconnect usage charge (IUC) charges it has been paying to other networks. IUC charges are implemented by TRAI.
The company said that it has already paid Rs. 13,500 crore as IUC charges to other networks in the past three years.
IUC charges earlier were 14 paise, however, in 2017 TRAI reduced the charges to 6 paise. TRAI had earlier announced that they will remove this charge by January 2020, however TRAI floated in a consultation paper to review the regime to see if this timeline needs to be extended.
This decision of TRAI, forced, Jio to pass on the IUC charges to its customers.
“So, for all recharges done by Jio customers starting today, calls made to other mobile operators will be charged at the prevailing IUC rate of 6 paise per minute through IUC top-up vouchers till such time that TRAI moves to zero termination charge regime.
“Presently, this date is January 1, 2020. We are hopeful that the IUC charge will be done away with as per the current regulation and that this temporary charge will come to an end by December 31, 2019 and consumers will not have to pay this charge thereafter. In the meanwhile, consumers can continue to enjoy the additional data entitlement in lieu of the IUC top-up vouchers so that there is no effective tariff increase till 31st December 31, 2019”, Jio said in a statement.
“Jio will provide additional data entitlement of equivalent value based on IUC top-up voucher consumption. This will ensure no increase in tariff for customers,” Jio said.
While Airtel has issued a statement stating “The telecom industry is in a state of deep financial stress since the last three years with several operators having gone bankrupt and thousands of jobs having being lost. The IUC is determined based on the cost per call. Given the massive 2G customer base in India the cost of the call at 6 paise is already significantly below the real cost of completing the call,”