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Calls to get cheaper

india Updated: Dec 30, 2008 20:28 IST
Manoj Gairola

Telecom tariffs may fall as the regulator is considering reviewing termination charges. Beginning tomorrow, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will initiate the process of reviewing termination charges.

An operator in whose network a call originates pays termination charges to another operator where call terminates. For example, if an Airtel subscriber calls a Vodafone subscriber, then Airtel pays termination charges to Vodafone. Presently, termination charges are 30 paise per minute. If termination charges are reduced, call charges will follow.

“We will issue a consultation paper tomorrow,” said TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra. The paper will review the whole approach to the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) — a charge that an operator pays to another for terminating and carriage of a call — regime.

Presently, there is a flat termination charge on all type of calls. The regulator will review whether there can be different termination charges for different categories of call.

The last review of IUC took place in 2006. In last two years, the telecom scenario in India has changed dramatically. The government has given licence to four new telecom service providers — Shyam-Sistema, Unitech, Datacom and Local Loop. At least two of them are expected to launch services in the next financial year.

In case of new operators, outgoing calls are likely to be more than incoming calls. This is because of their no or low subscriber base. A low termination charge, therefore, suits them.

On the other side, existing operators like Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance and Idea want high termination charges as the number of incoming calls terminating in their networks is higher than the number of calls going out.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) wants higher termination charges for fixed line calls. BSNL and MTNL own more than 90 per cent of the landlines.