TRAI cuts ISD incoming call termination rate to 30p

TRAI ISD calling ISD incoming call international incoming call ISD call rate cut COAI OTT Internet protocol technology news

The international termination charge is levied by telecom companies here from overseas operators on the networks of which a call may have been made

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) reduced global call termination charges (ITC) to 30 paise from the 53 paise. The new rates will be in effect from February 1.

Termination charge is payable to the local operator on whose network the call terminates and is paid by the global operator from whose network the call has originated.

"Another issue raised in the CP (consultation paper) was about prescribing International Termination Charge and Prescription of revenue share between Indian ILDO (international long distance) and access provider in the International Termination Charge". During the same period, the regulator reduced the domestic interconnect charges to 14 paise per minute from 20 paise per minute.

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. "It is expected that if the arbitrage opportunity is plugged or kept to a minimum, the attractiveness of the grey route for carrying worldwide incoming voice traffic would be lost, and thereby, the carrier route for global incoming traffic would witness a legitimate growth". Indian telcos are yet to comment on this massive announcement from the regulator.

But the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) which represents top carriers differed strongly, arguing that the move was a "body blow" to incumbent carriers, at a time when the industry was passing through one of its toughest phases with severe financial stress, and has sought for relief from the government. The companies had also been seeking an increase in this charge to Re 1 and then to Rs 3.50.

Most of these global calls terminated on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea's network.

While issuing 'Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2017 (5 of 2017) dated September 19, 2017, the authority observed the need for more deliberation on the issue of ITC.

The number of worldwide calls made to India were comparatively lesser than those originating from the country.

"Any reduction in termination cost is going to have a major impact".

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

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