TRAI reconsiders planned timeline for elimination of IUC

19 Sep 2019

Indian sector watchdog the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a public consultation paper reviewing its plans to eliminate interconnection usage charges (IUC) for voice calls from January 2020, replacing the system with a so-called Bill And Keep (BAK) model. In its paper, the TRAI notes that the 2017 decision to reduce termination rates to zero from the start of 2020 was based in part on the expectation that most operators would move to packet switched technologies by the end of 2019, greatly reducing termination costs. In the two years following the ruling, however, the TRAI has found that ‘a large number of customers are still served by circuit switched networks for handling of voice calls’. Confirming these findings, the TRAI added that stakeholders have shown that although cellcos have invested heavily in 4G networks they have yet to migrate the bulk of their subscribers to VoLTE technology. The consultation paper asks whether there is a need for the introduction of BAK should be postponed, and on what basis the new adoption date should be decided; the closing date for submissions is 18 October.