Millennium Post

Delay in zero call connect charges implementation to hurt service affordability: Jio

New Delhi: Reliance Jio on Friday said that delaying the implementation of zero call connect charges beyond January 2020 will hurt affordability of telecom services in a sector where users have benefited from free voice calls.

Reliance Jio Director Mahendra Nahata said that the ratio of incoming and outgoing call is now at par with each other and traffic asymmetry can, therefore, no longer be the reason to delay implementation of Bill and Keep (BAK) regime (that is zero mobile termination charge from January 1, 2020).

Traffic symmetry indicates that telecom operator will not have any outstanding balance of interconnect usage charges (IUC) against other networks.

Speaking at Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) open house on IUC issue, Nahata said Airtel had expanded 4G network and Vodafone Idea too is talking about expanding their 4G network.

"We are not considering any profit or loss, but opposing it on the basis of principle. Criticising the decision of government or regulatory authorities from a distant location is beyond our understanding. Therefore, please take a decision after due diligence on all the points that we have raised," he said.

Nahata questioned data being shown by telecom operators and alleged that the subscriber traffic is being diverted to 2G, 3G network to show cost of voice is high.

Nahata said that in case Trai does not favour implementation of BAK regime from January 2020 then at least interconnect usage charges currently at 6 paise should be brought down.

"When you had implemented 6 paise charge, 4G traffic was one per cent. Today that traffic is much higher so the costs must have come down," he said.

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