Trai cuts ISD incoming call termination rate to 30 paise

Cutting of international call termination charges may cost dear to telcos

After slashing the domestic interconnect charges, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday slashed the worldwide interconnect charges from 53 paise per minute to 30 paise per minute. The prices of global calls are expected to drop. The new rates will be in effect from February 1.

"In view of the significant arbitrage opportunity between global termination charge and domestic rates, high level of worldwide termination charge will also give rise to growth of the grey market at the cost of national security and revenues of Indian operators", the telecom regulator said.

For the unaware, International Termination Charges (ITC) are the charges payable by an International Long Distance Operator (ILDO), which is carrying calls from outside the country to the access providers in the country in whose network the call terminates.

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The current charges of global interconnect charges amount to 53 paise per minute.

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

COAI said that the new entrant's views were "divergent" on the issue, but Reliance Jio did not comment on the matter individually. "At present, about 20 per cent global incoming calls terminate in India via grey routes". "The Authority is of the view that there is a need of more deliberation on the issue, and therefore, the Authority will issue separate regulation on this issue", TRAI said in September 2017.

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"Incumbent revenue from worldwide calls terminating here will be directly and proportionally impacted by the 43% reduction in ITR", said Mritunjay Kapur, head of telecom, media and technology at KPMG India.

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

The reduction in the charge will lower the attractiveness of the grey route for carrying worldwide incoming voice traffic and therefore carrier route for global incoming traffic would witness a legitimate growth, Trai has said while backing its move.

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