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Airtel challenges TRAI’s new interconnection rates in Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response from TRAI after Bharti Airtel submitted a plea challenging the regulator’s Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC), fixing termination charges for landline to wireless as zero paise, and wireless to wireless at 14 paise per minute, reports Economic Times. IUC charges or termination charges are payable by one telecom company, whose subscriber makes a call to another telco’s subscriber, who receives the call. The charge is payable by the first telco for using the second’s network. A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and sought its reply by the next date of hearing on March 1. Airtel has stated in its plea that the regulations imposed by TRAI are beyond the regulator’s legal power or authority and that it also violates Articles 14 which deals with 'Equality before the law'  and 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India, which deals with freedom to practise any profession, trade or occupation . The telco further furnished a letter dated May 14, 2015, which asked the regulator to review the regulations, which was rejected by the TRAI. The petitions states the Interconnect Usage Charges payable by one service provider to the other have to be determined on the basis of cost and on a non-discriminatory basis. It further adds that the new regulations are inconsistent with the earlier ones issues in 2001 by the TRAI, which mandated that the “interconnection charges should…

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