Trai cuts worldwide termination charge to 30 paise a min

Telecom sector

International Incoming Call Termination Charges Cut

Telecom regulator Trai on Friday slashed worldwide incoming call termination rate to 30 paise, from 53 paise, to curb the "grey route". The new regulations shall come into force from February 1, 2018.

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

Global termination charges (ITC) are payable by an worldwide long-distance operator (ILDO), which carries calls from outside the country, to an access provider in the country in whose network the call terminates.

The halving of calling charges was estimated to swipe Rs 5,000 crore in revenues from incoming worldwide calls, a report by ET said.

This is the second blow after Trai reduced domestic termination charges from 14 to 6 paisa in October previous year.

This comes on the back of excessive use of data driven apps that allow subscribers to make worldwide calls at a fraction of the cost of a voice call.

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. "This would not only plug the leakages in the revenue accruable to the country and Indian TSPs, but would also ensure that India continues to earn precious Forex from the worldwide incoming voice traffic business", the regulator explained. Back in February 2015, TRAI increased the ITC to 53 paise per minute from 40 paise per minute.

COAI said that the new entrant's views were "divergent" on the issue, but Reliance Jio did not comment on the matter individually. The companies had also been seeking an increase in this charge to Re 1 and then to Rs 3.50.

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.

While another analyst said that the reduction in India's ITR would improve margins for foreign companies that carry calls to Indian gateways, Prashant Singhal, TMT head for emerging markets at EY said that outgoing calls from India to other worldwide markets will continue to be expensive, which means Indian consumers won't benefit.

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