Interconnect charges being reviewed- TRAI

Rejecting allegations of bias towards new players, TRAI Chairman R S Sharma said the decision to review interconnection usage charges (IUC) was taken only after receiving a request on the issue from existing operators. “(For) IUC, I think lot of you have criticised me. A lot of people said we were biased, they said we were doing it for some operators… It is at the request of telecom service providers that I am reviewing it,” Mr. Sharma said at a FICCI event here.
Mr. Sharma said the telcos had brought up the issue when BSNL rolled out a scheme enabling customers travelling abroad to make calls from their mobile phones using their landline connection back home without attracting ISD charges by downloading the state-run operator’s app.
“TSPs (telecom service providers) said it wasn’t correct because this was some sort of a hybrid solution. (It was) avoiding a lot of interconnect charges…So we told BSNL to hold the service. We will have a comprehensive review and therefore, there was this need to review it.
“So it wasn’t something I could put off because they (operators) said they had spend Rs 2,000 crore in putting up some next-gen network,” he said.
The regulator has also called for a meeting with operators to discuss alleged violations of tariff orders by the newcomer Relaince Jio.

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