Trai recommended scrapping call termination charges


New Delhi: The Telecom regulator Authority of India has recommended scrapping charges on the calls which are received by the customers, following issues including call drops and pricing of data services.

TRAI said on Friday that, “It was highly complex to decide the fee, which becomes an effective floor for retail tariffs.” Operators of TRAI are moving from older systems to internet protocol-based (IP) networks, TRAI claimed.  

Micromax Unite 4 Plus dispatched in August 2016

If the regulator abolishes termination charges, the move will help smaller telecom operators and new entrants such as Reliance Jio Infocomm, which will have more outgoing calls made to subscribers of larger telecom operators. Last year, the regulator capped the termination charge at 14 paise, lowering it from 20 paise.

The Cellular Operators Association of India said termination charges should not be eliminated.

"Paying for terminating a call is a charge paid all over the world. Even in the list of countries quoted by the telecom regulator in its paper," COAI director general Rajan Mathews said, adding that there were numerous additional costs borne by larger telcos, especially in India, that must be reflected in the termination charges.

"The price of spectrum must also be embedded in any model adopted for computing the charge as we have the most expensive spectrum in the world and a host of regulatory costs, which telcos elsewhere do not have to pay," Mathews said. The regulator in the past itself had raised interconnect user charges in order to contain the growing menace of pesky calls, he said.

Trai said, “With voice over LTE, a 4G standard, and internet telephony, any attempt to set uniform domestic termination charges on a cost basis would be a challenging task. As reported by ET, the top three telcos have been batting for a model that would include historical and current costs of transmitting a call. Moving to a regime of no termination charge will encourage deployment of IP-based telecom networks”, Trai reasoned.

Telcos said, “An 11.6% increase in revenue for the year ended March 2016, even as they passed on the cost advantage to subscribers. The tariff rate last year fell to 47 paise per minute from 50 paise."

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