Trai cuts ISD incoming call termination rate

Mobile bills to become cheaper TRAI slashes international incoming call termination rates

"Another issue raised in the CP (consultation paper) was about prescribing International Termination Charge and Prescription of revenue share between Indian ILDO (international long distance) and access provider in the International Termination Charge".

After slashing the domestic interconnect charges, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today slashed the worldwide interconnect charges from 53 paise per minute to 30 paise per minute, increasing the woes of Indian telecom operators.

The halving of calling charges was estimated to swipe Rs 5,000 crore in revenues from incoming worldwide calls, a report by ET said. Yet the move has been opposed by incumbent telecom operators, which say this will make the ratio between global incoming calls and outgoing calls more skewed. The new rate will be effective from Feb 1.

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The move is against national interest as the country will lose precious foreign exchange due to a sharp reduction of 43% in ITC, said Rajan Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Assocation of India, in his reaction to the move. "The Authority is of the view that, with this revision, the arbitrage opportunity between ITC and domestic call tariffs would become so insignificant that illegal VOIP gateway business in India would become unviable; in turn, the grey market for ILD incoming traffic would eventually cease to exist", Trai said.

However, the COAI argued that the move of reducing the rate by almost 43 per cent could result in loss of foreign exchange, as well as a loss of revenue to the exchequer from licence fee and GST. Theand proliferation of OTT (over-the-top) route for carrying worldwide voice traffic has many non-cost factors, it added. This would not only plug the leakages in the revenue accruable to the country and Indian TSPs, but would also ensure that India continues to earn precious Forex from the worldwide incoming voice traffic busines " the TRAi said.

This is the second blow after Trai reduced domestic termination charges from 14 to 6 paisa in October past year.

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