Telecom regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on Friday slashed worldwide incoming call termination rate to 30 paise, from 53 paise, to curb the "grey route", an official statement said on Friday. The revised charge will be effective from February 1.
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.
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.
The move, that ET reported on Friday and was announced by the regulator today, would deal a further blow to India's top telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular who receive a bulk of the worldwide calls on their network. Trai will monitor the trends and patterns of incoming global calls and may review the rate from time to time, but did not give a roadmap.
It argued that curbing the menace of grey route was a more important regulatory priority than facilitating the shift of the worldwide incoming traffic from OTT (over-the-top) route - apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Skype used to make voice and video calls over the internet - to carrier route. Indian telcos are yet to comment on this massive announcement from the regulator.
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Indian telecom operators are already going through severe financial issues, and this move will further increase their woes. The companies had also been seeking an increase in this charge to Re 1 and then to Rs 3.50.
These rates are paid by foreign carriers for terminating worldwide calls in India.
The regulator's September 19 document on regulations on domestic charges had specified it would issue a separate regulation on the issue.
"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.
TRAI said the new rule "shall come into force from the 1st February, 2018".