Worldwide calls may become cheaper as the telecom regulator has cut global incoming call termination charges, according to an official statement released on Friday.
Global termination charges (ITC) are payable by an worldwide long-distance operator (ILDO), which carries calls from outside the country, to an access provider in the country in whose network the call terminates.
Incumbents Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to withdraw its decision on grounds that reduction to 30 paise from the earlier 53 paise a minute would lead to massive loss of revenue to the exchequer, though Reliance Jio did not back the plea.
This is the second blow after Trai reduced domestic termination charges from 14 to 6 paisa in October a year ago.
In a background note, it mentioned the existence of grey market which routes the ISD calls made to India by setting up illegal VoIP (voice over internet protocol) gateways which needs to curbed. The prices of global calls are expected to drop.
The current charges of global interconnect charges amount to 53 paise per minute.
Indian telecom operators are already going through severe financial issues, and this move will further increase their woes.
These rates are paid by foreign carriers for terminating global calls in India. The companies had also been seeking an increase in this charge to Re 1 and then to Rs 3.50. An operator charges their rival an Interconnection Usage Charge when a user ends a domestic call on their network. "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.
The telecom regulator has said in its explanatory memorandum that players carrying global incoming voice traffic to India through grey route thrive on the significant arbitrage opportunity between the 53 paise ITR and tariff for domestic voice call in India plus the cost of running illegal VoIP gateway.