Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) urged for a massive hike in the international call termination charges to Rs. 3.50 per minute from the current 53 paise per minute charges. Recently, it was said that Trai will sit on October 16, which is today to review the international call charges.
Trai is currently in the process of reviewing the international call rates. The regulator recently revised the domestic charges, as you might be aware of. "Today, there is a 20:1 imbalance between incoming and outgoing international calls. In order to adjust the imbalance, you need to go to Rs 3.50 on a weighted average basis, to correct the arbitrage," COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said to PTI.
COAI has made it clear that there is a need to "bridge the gap between the blended termination rate paid by the Indian operators for outgoing international calls and the termination rates received by them on international incoming calls."
He also said that Trai has to draw a distinction between termination charges for domestic and international calls. "International interconnect rates are not as simple as domestic because there are multiple countries with their own regulatory processes and they set their own rates...also there are currency fluctuations to deal with," Mathews added.
Currently, the blended termination rate paid by Indian telecom operators is around Rs. 3.50 per minute for outgoing international calls, and they receive 53 paise per minute termination charges by foreign operators, which is very low considering the blended rate paid by them.
"Therefore, we are saying that our operators are at a disadvantage because we end up paying precious foreign exchange out...the problem with international is that (Indian) regulator has no control on the other side (for outgoing call termination charges) so other side is free to charge whatever they want," he said.
Trai is yet to finalise the charges, but if the operator increases the rates to Rs. 3.50 per minute, it will be a huge help for the telecom operators in India who're currently under a deep financial stress.