The telecommunications consumer agency seeks the elimination of IUC in mobile calls
New Delhi, November 1 () A telecommunications consumer agency has requested the elimination of the 6-country interconnection use charge (IUC) from January 1 of next year, as it deprives the weakest sectors of society of New age services and a better experience.
Trai had proposed moving from the current IUC regime to the BAK regime (billing and holding) where no operator will charge for the transmission of mobile calls, beginning January 1, 2020.
However, the regulator recently published a consultation document on whether it is necessary to defer the date of elimination of the charge for terminating mobile calls.
The Telecommunications Users Group (TUG) in its presentation to the Trai regulator has requested to go to the BAK regime since January 1.
The current IUC regime will add to the digital divide in which the weakest sectors of society will not benefit from new technologies. Industry estimates suggest that users pay more than Rs 200 annually because of IUC.
Consumers could spend the same money on new services that will come through technological updates and innovations, said Anil Prakash, president of TUG India.
The TUG said that the continuation of the IUC framework will delay the network modernization process.
Any policy decision is expected to foster innovation and keep the interests of consumers at a supreme level for all other stakeholders, including the government. From this point of view, it will be regressive to defer the implementation of the BAK procedure to deal with IUC, Prakash said.
Trai reduced the IUC on mobile calls from 14 countries to 6 countries per minute from October 1, 2017 onwards and was scheduled to become void as of January 1, 2020.
However, in September of this year, the regulator presented a consultation document on the postponement of the deadline and the invited opinions of all interested parties.
Telecommunications operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL have favored the extension of the deadline of January 1, while Reliance Jio has opposed. TUG India is of the opinion that the government must move forward with its January 1, 2020 calendar to implement the BAK method ... as it fosters innovation and serves the interests of consumers in the most effective way, he said Prakash PRS ANU ANU