JIO WILL CHARGE 6 PAISE /MINUTE FOR MOBILE VOICE CALLS TO OTHER OPERATORS
Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC is a cost paid by one mobile telecom operator to another, when its customers make outgoing mobile calls to the other operator’s customers. These calls between two different networks are known as mobile off- net calls. IUC charges are fixed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and are currently at 6 paise per minute.
Relying on the repeated stance of TRAI and the amendment already made to the regulations reducing the IUC to Zero, Jio continued to pay IUC from its own resources to Airtel and Vodafone-Idea etc. while offering free voice to its customers. So far, in the last three years Jio has paid nearly Rs.13,500 crore as NET IUC charges to the other operators.
The price differential of free voice on Jio network and exorbitantly high tariffs on 2G networks causes the 35 – 40 crore 2G customers of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea to give missed calls to Jio customers. Jio network receives 25 to 30 crore missed calls on a daily basis.
This huge missed call phenomena converts the incoming calls to Jio into outgoing calls from Jio to other operators. The 25 to 30 crore missed calls per day should have resulted in 65 to 75 crore minutes of incoming traffic to Jio. Instead, the call back made by the Jio customers results in 65 to 75 crore minutes of outgoing traffic.
But for the effects of the tariff differential, especially the missed call phenomenon, the off-net voice traffic is already symmetrical now for Jio. It is being made asymmetric by the other operators by keeping their 2G voice tariffs high.
So, for all recharges done by Jio customers starting today, calls made to other mobile operators will be charged at the prevailing IUC rate of 6 paise per minute through IUC top-up vouchers till such time that TRAI moves to Zero termination charge regime. Presently, this date is 1st January 2020.
Nevertheless, Jio stands firm on its commitment to offer the highest value to its customers, and there is no 6 paise per minute charge on:
(a) all Jio to Jio calls;
(b) all incoming calls;
(c) Jio to landline calls; and
(d) calls made using WhatsApp or FaceTime and similar platforms.
Additionally, Jio, with Reliance Retail, will ensure priority allocation of the JioPhone to frequently called 2G users from our Jio consumers.
Jio will provide additional data entitlement of equivalent value based on IUC top-up voucher consumption. This will ensure no increase in tariff for customers.
The following top-up vouchers shall be available for customers to suit their requirements:
Post-paid customers will be billed at 6 paise per minute for off-net outgoing calls with increase in free data entitlement to the extent mentioned above.
Jio again assures its 35 crore customers that the 6paise per minute charge on outgoing off-net mobile calls shall continue only till the time TRAI abolishes IUC, in line with its present regulation. We will share all data with TRAI to convince that zero IUC regime is in the best interest of consumers and how the huge number of missed calls is creating the wrong perception of asymmetric traffic.
We are hopeful that the IUC charge will be done away with as per the current regulation and that this temporary charge will come to an end by 31st December 2019 and consumers will not have to pay this charge thereafter. In the meanwhile, consumers can continue to enjoy the additional data entitlement in lieu of the IUC top-up vouchers so that there is no effective tariff increase till 31st December 2019.