Reliance Jio has confirmed that those who have recharged on or before October 9th can enjoy calls to any number for free until their plan expires.
An important update for all Jio users. pic.twitter.com/TR04y92wmC
— Reliance Jio (@reliancejio) October 10, 2019
Reliance Jio just announced that its customers will now have to pay 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to non-Jio mobile networks starting from today. This is not charged for incoming calls or calls to landline. Jio also said that it will compensate customers by giving free data of equal value of the top up vouchers. This talk time amount will get deducted at 6 paise per minute when you make outgoing calls to other operators.
Top-up vouchers available for Jio customers:
|IUC Top-Up Voucher Amount (Rs)||IUC Minutes (non-Jio mobiles)||Free Data Entitlement (GB)|
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.
The 6 paisa charge on outgoing off-net mobile calls will continue till TRAI abolishes Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC, which is the cost paid by one mobile telecom operator to another, when its customers make outgoing mobile calls to the other operator’s customers.
Jio said that it is 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, said Jio.
In defense, Jio said that it 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.
In a statement, Jio said:
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.
In response Airtel said:
One of our competitors has imposed a rate of 6 paise for all off net calls made to other operators to cover the termination charge of IUC (Interconnect Usage Charge). They have gone on to suggest that TRAI has re-opened this issue.
We would like to point out that, on 19th September, 2017, when TRAI reduced the IUC from 14 paise to 6 paise and proposed a move towards Bill and Keep (zero IUC) with effect from Jan 1, 2020 they had specifically mentioned the following:
The assumptions made by TRAI were to evaluate two factors: One was the adoption of VoLTE, which TRAI assumed will bring the cost down. Second, with the growth of smaller sized operators, symmetry of traffic would ensue. Both these have not materialized. There are still over 400 million 2G customers from the poorest sections of society living in rural areas paying less than Rs. 50 per month and who can still not afford to buy a 4G device. Second, there still is significant asymmetry of traffic.
In line with TRAI’s stated position, therefore, they have issued a consultation paper in September 2019 to reassess the time lines of the shift from 6 paise to a zero charge.
Clearly, this off net charge being levied, therefore, is to force IUC to be brought down despite the heavy burden it puts in the receiving network. We are grateful that this very timely consultation paper to reassess IUC has been issued By TRAI.
The telecom industry is in a state of deep financial stress since the last three years with several operators having gone bankrupt and thousands of jobs having being lost. The IUC is determined based on the cost per call. Given the massive 2G customer base in India the cost of the call at 6 paise is already significantly below the real cost of completing the call.