Reliance Jio was the first to charge Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC in the telecom industry. Soon after the three major telco companies announced an increase in prices in their plans and attached with that Bharti Airtel & Vodafone-Idea started charging IUC charges for calls to other networks. But soon after a day of increasing prices both the telcos announced that they will not charge for IUC anymore and will provide truly unlimited calls. But Jio has still not announced unlimited calls. Why Jio is doing this? First off all do you know what is IUC? let’s know about it first.
What is IUC? Why it is charged?
Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC is a cost paid by one mobile telecom operator to another when its customers make outgoing mobile calls to the other operator’s customers. These calls between two different networks are known as off-net calls. IUC charges are fixed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and they are currently set at 6 paise per minute. TRAI, has repeatedly since 2011, affirmed its stance that the IUC charges should be brought down to Zero. Suppose a Jio customer calls an Airtel customer then Jio has to pay Airtel for that call.
Why Jio started is still charging for IUC for calls? While airtel and VodafoneIdea are free
Regarding the IUC cost being offset to users, Jio says, “Relying on the repeated stance of TRAI and the amendment already made to the regulations reducing the IUC to Zero, Jio continued to pay IUC from its own resources to Airtel and Vodafone-Idea etc. while offering a free voice to its customers. So far, in the last three years, Jio has paid nearly Rs 13,500 crore as NET IUC charges to the other operators.”
Unfortunately, after the above order in 2017, while the incumbent operators reduced voice tariffs for their 4G customers, they continued to charge exorbitant tariffs to their 35 – 40 crore 2G customers, and in fact, increased the tariffs for voice calls to around Rs 1.50/ minute. They also charge a minimum of Rs 500 per GB for data from their 2G customers.”
The price differential of free voice on Jio network and exorbitantly high tariffs on 2G networks causes the 35 – 40 crore 2G customers of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea to give missed calls to Jio customers. Jio network receives 25 to 30 crore missed calls on a daily basis.
How jio got affected from all this IUC tragedy?
Jio says this whole idea of missed calls phenomenon resulted in Jio losing out on around 65-75 crore minutes of incoming call traffic, instead of incoming traffic. But for the effects of the tariff differential, especially the missed call phenomenon, the off-net voice traffic is already symmetrical now for Jio. It is being made asymmetric by the other operators by keeping their 2G voice tariffs high.
The statement reads, “Citing such traffic asymmetry as the only ground in the recently floated consultation paper, TRAI has reopened the closed chapter on IUC, which has already been made zero with effect from 1st January 2020 by an amendment to IUC Regulations. The amendment to the IUC Regulations in 2017 was after considerable deliberations and consultations. In this background, the consultation paper has created Regulatory uncertainty and therefore Jio has been compelled, most reluctantly and unavoidably, to recover this regulatory charge of 6 paise per minute for all off-net mobile voice calls so long as IUC charges exist.”
jio plans Compared with Airtel & Vodafone-Idea
Now for an example, we take a plan of Jio which costs 599 in which Jio is providing 2GB/day for a validity of 84 days with a limit on outgoing calls to other networks and also offers 3000 IUC minutes for talking with customers of other network operators.
While Airtel is offering this plan at a cost of 598 but is offering 1.5GB/day for a total of 84 days with no limit on outgoing calls, whatsoever. Vodafone-Idea is offering this plan at a price of 599 and is also offering 1.5GB/day for a total of 84 days with no conditions applied on outgoing calls.
Is Jio still better? Should you really port to airtel or Vodafone?
While the above example is not the same in all cases if we compare the 399 plans of all the three operators where each of them is offering 1.5GB/day for a period of 56 days but taking the reference of the above example we would recommend that if a user needs more data and needs to save some money (even it just Rs.100) then he/she should go with Jio, but if a user needs no restrictions on talktime and his/her friends or family circle use different operators & he/she can’t utilise 1.5GB/day, then they should go with either Airtel or Vodafone-Idea.
While we think Jio might take down the IUC charge after Jan 2020 because as rumours are pouring in that TRAI may bring down the IUC charges to zero paise after Jan 2020.
That was all in this article. Thank You for taking out time to read this. Hope this helps in choosing the right plans. Do share this article with your friends and family and don’t forget to click on the bell icon to know when Jio would offer truly unlimited calls and also to stay updated with all the latest happenings of the tech industry.