TRAI reduces worldwide termination rates

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The international termination charge is levied by telecom companies here from overseas operators on the networks of which a call may have been made

After reducing IUC charges in India to 6 paise per minutes, TRAI may motion to cut worldwide termination charges to 25-30 paise per minute, a report by Money Control said.

Global calls may become cheaper as the telecom regulator has cut worldwide incoming call termination charges, according to an official statement released on Friday. The new regulations will come into force from February 1 next month.

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.

Trai added that the move would not only plug the leakages in the revenue accruable to the country and Indian telecom players but would also ensure that India continues to earn foreign exchange from the global incoming voice traffic business.

TRAI had raised the global termination charges to 53 paise per minute from 40 paise in February 2015, while cutting the mobile termination charges to 14 paise per minute from 20 paise per minute.

Incumbent carriers have argued for an increase to Re 1 from 53 paise a minute, and then to Rs 3.5 per minute overtime, which will be in line with other countries' high rates.

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COAI said that the new entrant's views were "divergent" on the issue, but Reliance Jio did not comment on the matter individually.

On the other hand, had Trai made a decision to increase ITC rate to Re1 per minute, industry and the country would have benefitted from incremental forex of Rs6,000 crore and an additional forex of around Rs10,721 crore had the ITR been eventually increased to Rs3.5 per minute. Trai issued the consultation paper on Review of Interconnect Usage Charges on August 5, 2016.

The move, however, would negatively impact incumbent carriers, as they would stand to lose a large chunk of Rs 5,000 crore of revenue that comes from incoming global calls.

These rates are paid by foreign carriers for terminating global calls in India.

"Any reduction in termination cost is going to have a major impact".

The latest rule from TRAI issued as part of the Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (Fourteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2018, will benefit the operator which carries calls outside the country, officially referred to as the International Long Distance Operator (ILDO). The prices of global calls are expected to drop.

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