Reliance Jio just recently announced that it will now charge 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to rival networks. Jio has announced new top-up vouchers which offer a predefined number of voice calls to other mobile networks and additioanl data as well.
The Rs 10 top-up voucher offers 124 minutes of non-IUC calls to non-Jio mobiles along with 1GB free additional data. The Rs 20 top-up voucher bundled 249 minutes of calls along with 2GB of data, the Rs 50 voucher offer 656 minutes of calls to other networks and 5GB of data. While the Rs 100 voucher allows for 1,362 minutes of calls along with 10GB of additional data.
The interconnect Usage Charge or IUC is a tariff paid by one mobile telecom operator to another. When the customers of one mobile network make outgoing mobile calls to another operator’s mobile network, which is to their family using the other mobile network.
Till now, Reliance Jio had been paying the IUC charge to other operators even though they were offering unlimited voice calls to users, irrespective of the network they were calling to, for local calls and STD calls. Reliance Jio says that this new tariff will stay in place till the IUC tariffs are abolished in January 2020. So far in the last three years, Jio has paid nearly Rs 13,500 crore as NET IUC charges to the other operators.
Fo all recharge done by Jio users starting October 10, calls made to other mobile networks will be charged at the prevailing IUC rate of 6 paise per minute through IUC top-up vouchers till such time that TRAI moves to zero termination charge regime.
It is expected that the IUC charges will be removed for all operators come January 2020, which could see this tariff change being reversed. Till then, could we see the likes of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea also implement these charges for existing customers?.
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