The Indian telecom market behemoth has dropped a small price bomb on the consumers. Jio, with over 300 million (30 crore) consumers in India has announced that it will be charging a small fee known as IUC (Interconnect User Charge).
What is IUC?
Interconnect Usage Charge is the fees that one operator has to pay to other operator when a call is made to the latter’s network. For instance, a Jio user makes a call to a person on the Airtel network. In this case, Jio has to pay a charge for connecting the call to Airtel’s network. This was the case with other operators as well. However, the costs incurred by Jio as claimed by the company is ₹1300 crores, which is very high. This is due to a different reason.
Reason for Jio’s High IUC Payments
It has been noticed that due to the free calls feature in Jio, users of other networks used to give missed calls to the jio number users and then the Jio users would call back. This acted in the favour of the operators such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea that made Jio pay a massive IUC charge of ₹1300 crores or about $2 billion.
A few months ago, both, Jio and Airtel reduced their call ring time to 20 seconds. This helped them reduced the IUC charges levied on them and compelled the subscribers to call back ultimately benefitting the operators. Despite these minor changes, Jio still faced the losses and now it has decided to recover the cost to whatever extent possible by implementing a minimum fee of 6 paise/minute for the services. In an attempt to this, Jio has launched a list of packs that the users need to purchase on top of their Unlimited Data and Calls pack. These new packs range from ₹10 to ₹100, which also comes with added data benefits that are a major advantage for the users.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been requested by the telecom service providers in India, especially Jio to scrap the charges as they are redundant. TRAI is considering the move to remove the charges starting January 2020. This would be a sigh of relief for the already famished telecom players of India.
For the users, the IUC is still not a big issue as it will not have any impact on most of their functions. For instances, the calls made over the social media platforms such as WhatsApp or Messenger will still be free and so are the incoming calls.