STEP TOWARDS REVERSING ENACTED REGULATION ON IUC COMPELS JIO TO
RECOVER TERMINATION CHARGE OF 6 PAISE /MINUTE FOR MOBILE VOICE
CALLS TO OTHER OPERATORS
RECOVERY THROUGH IUC TOP-UP VOUCHERS; RECOVERY OF TERMINATION
CHARGE ONLY UNTIL THE IUC CHARGE IS MADE ZERO
CONSUMERS WILL GET EQUIVALENT DATA FOR THE VALUE OF IUC TOP UP
NO INCREASE IN TARIFFS FOR JIO CONSUMERS
th October 2019]: Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC is a cost paid by one mobile
telecom operator to another, when its customers make outgoing mobile calls to the other
operator’s customers. These calls between two different networks are known as mobile off-
net calls. IUC charges are fixed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and are
currently at 6 paise per minute.
TRAI, has repeatedly since 2011, affirmed its stance that the IUC charges should be brought
down to Zero.
1) Affidavit dated 29th October 2011 of TRAI in the Hon’ble Supreme Court:
“8.12 …. TRAI is of the opinion that there should be progressive reduction in
termination charges finally converging to zero termination charge … at the end
of 2 years from the present.”
(In 2011, TRAI stated its opinion that termination charge should be made zero by 2014.
It should be noted that at that time, neither 4G nor Jio existed.)
2) After a comprehensive review of the IUC regime through a transparent and elaborate
consultation process in 2016, TRAI issued the Telecommunication Interconnection
Usage Charges (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2017 (placed before the
Parliament of India) as follows:
“(a) Re. 0.06 (paise six only) per minute with effect from the 1st October, 2017 to
the 31st December, 2019; and
(b) 0 (Zero) with effect from the 1st January, 2020”….”
(a) IUC for mobile calls reduced from 14 paise per minute to 6 paise perminute from
st October 2017; and
(b) IUC for mobile calls will be ZERO from 1st January 2020.
3) Further, the same Regulations stated:
1) “46. … The Authority is of the view that termination charges work as
disincentive to deployment of new technologies such as VoLTE and
migration to IP networks by operators.”
2) “63. … The BAK regime would encourage operators to invest in new
technology and bring down the cost of voice services close to nil.” (BAK –
Bill and Keep means zero termination charge)
(In spite of the disincentive, Jio deployed the new technology.)
3) “59. In fact, BAK will be a catalyst for traffic symmetry. It gives TSPs
appropriate incentives to serve their customers efficiently and brings market
discipline to competition.…. Evidently, the demand for cost-based IUC till
there is traffic symmetry is a vicious circle. Only by removing the cost based
IUC, this vicious circle can be broken.” (underlined to highlight)
4) “95. Establishment of a clear outlook for IUC would provide regulatory
predictability and enable service providers to plan their networks and
5) “96. …. As a result, the Authority prescribes a Bill and Keep regime for the
wireless to wireless calls effective from the 1st January 2020.”
6) “47. Accordingly, The Authority is of the view that in case the present regime
of cost-based domestic termination charge is continued for long, it would
hamper the movement of the sector towards (i) deployment of more efficient
technologies; and (ii) more innovative and customer friendly tariff offerings;
and, in turn, it would be detrimental to the growth of telecommunication
services sector. …”
Relying on the repeated stance of TRAI and the amendment already made to the regulations
reducing the IUC to Zero, Jio continued to pay IUC from its own resources to Airtel and
Vodafone-Idea etc. while offering free voice to its customers. So far, in the last three years
Jio has paid nearly Rs.13,500 crore as NET IUC charges to the other operators.
Unfortunately, after the above order in 2017, while the incumbent operators reduced voice
tariffs for their 4G customers, they continued to charge exorbitant tariffs to their 35 – 40 crore
2G customers, and in fact increased the tariffs for voice calls to around Rs. 1.50/ minute. They
also charge a minimum of Rs 500 / GB for data from their 2G customers.
The price differential of free voice on Jio network and exorbitantly high tariffs on 2G networks
causes the 35 – 40 crore 2G customers of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea to give missed calls to
Jio customers. Jio network receives 25 to 30 crore missed calls on a daily basis.
This huge missed call phenomena converts the incoming calls to Jio into outgoing calls from
Jio to other operators. The 25 to 30 crore missed calls per day should have resulted in 65 to
75 crore minutes of incoming traffic to Jio. Instead, the call back made by the Jio customers
results in 65 to 75 crore minutes of outgoing traffic.
But for the effects of the tariff differential, especially the missed call phenomenon, the off-net
voice traffic is already symmetrical now for Jio. It is being made asymmetric by the other
operators by keeping their 2G voice tariffs high.
Citing such traffic asymmetry as the only ground in the recently floated consultation paper,
TRAI has reopened the closed chapter on IUC, which has already been made zero with effect
from 1st January 2020 by amendment to IUC Regulations. The amendment to the IUC
Regulations in 2017 was after considerable deliberations and consultations. In this
background the consultation paper has created Regulatory uncertainty and therefore Jio has
been compelled, most reluctantly and unavoidably, to recover this regulatory charge of 6
paise per minute for all off-net mobile voice calls so long as IUC charges exist.
So, for all recharges done by Jio customers starting today, calls made to other mobile
operators 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.
Presently, this date is 1st January 2020.
Nevertheless, Jio stands firm on its commitment to offer the highest value to its customers,
and there is no 6 paise per minute charge on:
(a) all Jio to Jio calls;
(b) all incoming calls;
(c) Jio to landline calls; and
(d) calls made using WhatsApp or FaceTime and similar platforms.
Additionally, Jio, with Reliance Retail, will ensure priority allocation of the JioPhone to
frequently called 2G users from our Jio consumers.
Jio will provide additional data entitlement of equivalent value based on IUC top-up
voucher consumption. This will ensure no increase in tariff for customers.
The following top-up vouchers shall be available for customers to suit their requirements:IUC Top-Up Voucher
Amount IUC Minutes (GB)
10 124 1
20 249 2
50 656 5
100 1,362 10
* Equivalent minutes with IUC charged at 6 paise per minute, with additional charge for GST and
processing fee, and duration of each call rounded up to nearest minute.
Post-paid customers will be billed at 6 paise per minute for off-net outgoing calls with increase in
free data entitlement to the extent mentioned above.
Jio again assures its 35 crore customers that the 6paise per minute charge on outgoing
off-net mobile calls shall continue only till the time TRAI abolishes IUC, in line with its
present regulation. We will share all data with TRAI to convince that zero IUC regime is in
the best interest of consumers and how the huge number of missed calls is creating the wrong
perception of asymmetric traffic.
We are hopeful that the IUC charge will be done away with as per the current regulation and
that this temporary charge will come to an end by 31st December 2019 and consumers will
not have to pay this charge thereafter. In the meanwhile, consumers can continue to enjoy
the additional data entitlement in lieu of the IUC top-up vouchers so that there is no effective
tariff increase till 31st December 2019.
About Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited:
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (“Jio”), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (“RIL”), has
built a world-class all-IP data strong future proof network with latest 4G LTE technology. It is
the only network conceived and born as a Mobile Video Network from the ground up and
supporting Voice over LTE technology. It is future ready and can be easily upgraded to
support even more data, as technologies advance on to 5G, 6G and beyond.
Jio will bring transformational changes in the Indian digital services space to enable the vision
of Digital India for 1.2 billion Indians and propel India into global leadership in the digital
economy. It has created an eco-system comprising of network, devices, applications and
content, service experience and affordable tariffs for everyone to live the Jio Digital Life. As
part of its customer offers, Jio has revolutionised the Indian telecom landscape by making
voice calls for Jio customers absolutely free, across India, to any network, and always. Jio
makes India the highest quality, most affordable data market in the world so that every Indian
can do Datagiri.
For further information, please contact: jio relance infomm