ISD incoming-call termination rate slashed

ISD incoming-call termination rate slashed

New rates to come into force from Feb 1

ISD incoming-call termination rate  slashed

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday slashed international incoming call termination rate to 30 paise per minute from the current 53 paise/min.

"The authority has reduced the termination charges payable by an International Long Distance Operator (ILDO) to the access provider in whose network the call terminates from Rs 0.53 per minute to Rs 0.30 per minute," said the TRAI in a statement.

The new rates will come into force from February 1.

Telecom firms levy termination charge on operators from whose networks calls have been made, for transmitting them to the subscriber.

International termination rate is a charge paid by international operators to local networks that receive calls.  

An official in the TRAI said that there is a valid reason for the  reduction of the termination charges due to increasing use and popularity of calls on data-based apps including Whatsapp, that offer high-quality voice and video calls at a fraction of the tariff.

However, slashing the termination charges is dubbed as a set back to the Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, which receive a bulk of the international calls on their network.

The reduction will erode a good chunk of the Rs 5,000 crore of revenue from incoming international calls and most of which terminate on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea network, said a representative of a telecom firm.  

Incumbent telecom operators have demanded TRAI to increase the international termination charges, while Reliance Jio suggested the reduction.

In a background note, the TRAI mentioned the existence of grey market which routes the ISD calls made to India by setting up illegal VoIP (voice over internet protocol) gateways, which needs to be  curbed.

TRAI said the menace of grey route poses a  serious security threat to the country apart from causing significant leakage in the revenue accruable to the country and its telecom service providers, and, the  proliferation of OTT (over-the-top) route for the carrying international voice traffic has many non-cost factors.

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