Idea Cellular Demands Alternate IUC Rates for Traditional and VoLTE Calls

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As Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) prepares to finalise their verdict on the IUC (Interconnect User Charge) issue, Idea Cellular has yet again made a bid supporting fixed IUC rates. The head of the third largest telecom operator, Idea Cellular, on Thursday, has penned a second letter to Trai offering an alternate solution on the matter of IUC charges and said that it is open for further discussions with the Authority on the same.

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Currently, Trai seems to be inclined towards passing the bill for reducing IUC to zero as opposed to the existing 14 paise per minute charge, and Reliance Jio is gladly onboard. However, the incumbent telcos have not been too thrilled about this decision in the past, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular is one of the first ones to voice their displeasure on the matter.

In his letter to Trai’s Chairman RS Sharma, Idea Cellular’s Managing Director, Himanshu Kapania, has said that more than 95% of the voice calls terminate on non-VoLTE networks since the cost of termination on 4G VoLTE networks is very low. He also mentioned that 4G VoLTE-based termination of calls is less than 5% in the present scenario.

Pushing his case forward, Kapania has offered two solutions on fixing new rates. He suggested that the Authority can divide the total traffic terminating on VoLTE and non-VoLTE networks, and then arrive at new rates on the basis of cost data and weightage between the two types of networks.

Alternatively, he has put forward a solution that each operator segregates the traffic terminating on VoLTE and non-VoLTE networks and let the Authority fix the rate of the two on real-time traffic trends. Prior to this, the company had written a letter to Trai urging the Authority to share its costing strategy with the operators so that the process takes place in a transparent manner.

According to the PTI report, Kapania said, “If the government verifies the cost and it is found to be lower — than the traffic between 2G, 3G, and 4G is 95%, while traffic between VoLTE is 5%. Our cost is 30 paisa and assume the VoLTE cost is 20 paisa, though we do not know what it is, so one way to resolve this is to use weighted average and arrive at an IUC rate.”

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