TRAI cuts ISD incoming call termination rate to 30p

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After reducing IUC charges in India to 6 paise per minutes, TRAI may motion to cut global termination charges to 25-30 paise per minute, a report by Money Control said.

The worldwide termination rate is a charge paid by global operators to local telecom networks that receive calls.

Global termination charges (ITC) are payable by an worldwide long-distance operator (ILDO), which carries calls from outside the country, to an access provider in the country in whose network the call terminates.

The move is expected to hit hard the top three telecom players - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular - who are estimated to together generate revenues of about Rs 5,000 crore from incoming worldwide calls. But Reliance Jio has been on the opposite side, asking that ITR be reduced to 6 paise a minute to bring it at par with the local interconnect usage charge (IUC) - which is paid by operators from where calls originate to the network of those on whose network the call terminates - after the regulator slashed it by 57% from 14 paise a minute. Trai will monitor the trends and patterns of incoming worldwide calls and may review the rate from time to time, but did not give a roadmap.

In a background note, it mentioned the existence of grey market which routes the ISD calls made to India by setting up illegal VoIP (voice over internet protocol) gateways which needs to curbed. Indian telcos are yet to comment on this massive announcement from the regulator.

The current charges of worldwide interconnect charges amount to 53 paise per minute. "It is important to rationalise the termination rates in light of the investments made by operators into networks, together with reasonable return on those investments, amid a southward movement in tariff", Singhal added. They were, in fact, going to ask for an increase in the rates to Re 1, and then later to Rs 3.5 per minute, The Economic Times reported.

The regulator's September 19 document on regulations on domestic charges had specified it would issue a separate regulation on the issue.

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular had, consistently, wanted the worldwide rate to be increased - to Re 1 initially and to Rs 3.50 later on the grounds that existing rates are very low for India when compared to global markets, which in turn hurt call volumes going out of India, and thus revenue.

TRAI said the new rule "shall come into force from the 1st February, 2018".

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