Reliance Jio and Tata Teleservices Limited (which owns the Tata Docomo brand) has opposed a petition filed by Airtel and Vodafone in the Delhi HC which seeks to change TRAI’s existing Interconnect usage charges (IUC) levied on operators, reports PTI.
Airtel and Vodafone have specifically challenged fixing of termination charges for landline to wireless as 0 paise and wireless to wireless at 14 paise per minute. The report quoted P Chidambaram, senior advocate appearing for Airtel and Vodafone, that teclos who have smaller customer base are not at “disadvantage” instead operators with larger customer base are “suffering” due the regulation.
“If somebody is using my infrastructure and earning revenue, they have to share it with me and I should also get some revenue out of it…Sharing the revenue does not mean that somebody will collect the revenue and will not share it with me. Sharing the revenue can never mean 100 on the one side and zero on the other,” Chidambaram told the bench according to the report.
When a subscriber initiates a voice call, the telco pays IUC charges in form of termination charges to another telco, whose network the call terminates on. TRAI currently charges IUC on the basis of the type of network the call originates or terminates on:
VoIP providers v/s Telecom operators
TRAI issued a consultation paper in June asking if VoIP apps like Ringo, Nanu, etc that transfer calls to and from landline/mobile networks need to be regulated under an IUC regime.
Responding to the paper, telecom lobbying association COAI (which included Airtel, Vodafone) said VoIP apps like Ringo benefit from a regime where interconnection charges are nil or zero. This allows Ringo to offer talk time at much cheaper rates than the rates offered by telecom operators, COAI added in its submission.
However it seems like Reliance Jio and Tata who are also part of the COAI hold a different view regarding termination charges. But it is not clear whether these operators are willing to cooperate with VoIP provider like Ringo, and Nanu for providing unrestricted Internet telephony in India.
Ringo had earlier alleged that top three telcos in the country including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea have been derailing its plans to launch Internet Telephony in the country by not releasing Interconnection points. The company claims to have Access Service license under Unified License regime for offering VoIP.