Reliance Jio has made a bold proposal yet again. Yesterday, Trai conducted a workshop on discussing the International call termination rates, and at the workshop, Reliance Jio stated that the call termination rates should be same for both domestic and international calls.
Reliance Jio asked the regulator to slash the international call rates to 6 paise per minutes, and later on, completely scrap it. With this bold proposal, Reliance Jio is setting up a big battle with the incumbent operators, who wanted the rates to be hiked to Rs. 1 per minute.
Currently, close to Rs. 5,000 crore revenue is coming from international calls, and most of the calls are terminated on Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea network itself. If Trai slashes the rate of Internation Termination Rate (ITR), it would be another blow for telecom operators in the country.
Reliance Jio has a reason to propose these rates. The company said that the steep growth of Over-the-Top (OTT) calls made users stick to them. For example, several users are now preferring voice calls to other countries via WhatsApp or other OTT apps. That said, OTT calls are free.
“Reliance (Jio) has asked for the same charge for domestic and international, which is now at variance with what the rest of the membership is agreeing to — which is a higher termination charge,” said Rajan Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.
COAI, just yesterday proposed a steep increase in the ITR from the current 53 paise per minute to Rs. 3.50 per minute, which would be a six-fold hike that could benefit the operators big time.
“There is no consensus (on ITR), every company has its own viewpoint… some have advocated altogether abolition of international settlement charges, some have asked for increase manifold,” Trai chairman RS Sharma said after the workshop.
To recall, Reliance Jio also battled against the incumbent telecom operators recently on the domestic IUC. While incumbent telecom operators asked for a hike in domestic IUC, Reliance Jio asked for a reduction. Sadly, Trai reduced the domestic IUC from 14 paise per minute to 6 paise per minute.
“As a regulator, we have to harmonise all the conflicting situations and take what we think is the most appropriate decision which takes into account the interests of consumer and industry, and growth of the industry and all factors that are part of our mandate,” Sharma said. He also revealed that the regulation will be issued on the same in a couple of months.