Jan 2, 2009

India - TRAI starts review of intra-operator charges

NEW DELHI: Mobile tariffs may fall in the coming year, as the telecom regulator TRAI on Wednesday started review of various intra-operator charges
including for calls landing in each other's network.

Issuing a consultation paper on "Review of Interconnection Usage Charge", TRAI has sought information from all stakeholders on various charges payable by operators to one another for carriage and termination of domestic and international calls.

The new telecom operators, who are yet to start offering mobile services, had opposed the high rate of termination charge of 30 paise a minute and had demanded that it should be lowered to a maximum ceiling of 10 paise.

Termination charge is money paid by an operator to another on whose network the call ends.

TRAI has, however, maintained that termination charge cannot be reviewed in isolation. The whole of IUC, which comprises origination, termination, carriage and transit charges, needs to be looked at.

The new telecom players have said that since most of the calls originate from their networks would be terminated on the network of existing players, payment of 30 paise a minute would leave very little scope for them to offer innovative tariff schemes to their subscribers and would also put pressure on their margins.

Even Department of Telecom had indicated that termination charges need to be lowered, as the cost of building up networks has come down considerably over the last 4-5 years.

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