Vodafone Essar expresses concern over review of IUC by Trai

Vodafone Essar expresses concern over review of IUC by Trai

New Delhi: A leading telecom player Vodafone Essar has opposed regulator Trai’s move to review the interconnection regime fearing an end to the termination charges, saying it was a deviation from the TDSAT and Supreme Court’s directions.

Mobile Termination Charges (MTC) is a levy paid by an operator to another on whose network the call ends. Doing away with the termination charge may bring the mobile tariffs down.

In fact, most of the new operators, who were given licences in 2008 have been demanding end to termination charge as most of calls originating from the networks get terminated on networks of old operators who have more than 90% of the subscribers.

In Trai’s 2009 Interconnection Usage Charges (IUC) regulation, the telecom regulator had fixed a mobile termination charge (MTC) at 20 paise per minute for all local and national long distance charges.

Vodafone Essar has written a letter to Trai pointing out that “the current review of IUC charges by the regulator has been undertaken pursuant to the judgement of TDSAT and interim direction of the Supreme Court.

“It (Trai’s proposals) does not take cognisance of or has deviated from the directions of both the bodies, in relation to the timing (of the consultation paper which was floated last month) the principles enunciated and guidance given by them (Supreme Court and TDSAT)in several key areas", the telecom major said.

The user making a call on the same network need not pay the termination charges which enables low tariffs charged by the mobile operators to subscribers, making a ground for tariff war among the various service providers.

In the consultation paper, “Review of Interconnection Usage Charges", Trai had thrown open several issues for consultations.

Among other things, it wanted to know whether the stakeholders agree that the IUC regime determined through this consultative process should be applicable for three years and also on the appropriate methods to calculate the charges.

The stakeholders are required to furnish their written comments to Trai by 25 May, 2011.

Vodafone, in its letter, also cautioned the telecom regulator cannot adopt “keep zero charges approach for any component of IUC as it is simply no longer an option available to Trai".