Mumbai: Reliance Jio, country’s largest telecom operator, today announced that its customers will now have to pay 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to other phone networks. However, the company also announced that it will compensate customers by giving free data of equal value.
The company said for all the outgoing calls to other mobile operators, Jio users will have to buy an additional IUC top up voucher from tomorrow. Post-paid customers will also be billed at 6 paise per minute for outgoing calls with an increase in free data entitlement. This will be the first time that Jio users will pay for voice calls.
Jio will provide following top-up vouchers for customers:
|IUC Top-Up Voucher Amount (Rs)||IUC Minutes (non-Jio mobiles)||Free Data Entitlement (GB)|
Jio, however, said these charges are not applicable on calls made by Jio users to other Jio phones and to landline phones and calls made using WhatsApp, FaceTime and other such platforms. Incoming calls from all networks will continue to be free.
Justifying the new charges, Jio said it has paid nearly Rs 13,500 crore as IUC charges to the rivals such as Bharti Airtel NSE 5.23 % and Vodafone Idea. in the last three years. The company said it has decided to charge customers to recover the IUC losses.
Additionally, Jio, said it will ensure priority allocation of the JioPhone to frequently called 2G users from our Jio consumers.
Reliance Jio will provide additional data entitlement of equivalent value based on IUC top-up voucher consumption. This will ensure no increase in tariff for customers. Currently, Jio charges only for data, and voice calls to anywhere in the country and to any network are free.
Telecom regulator TRAI in 2017 had slashed the interconnect usage charge (IUC) to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise and had said this regime will end by January 2020. But it has now floated a consultation paper to review whether the regime timeline needs to be extended.
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 mobile off-net calls. IUC charges are fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and are currently at 6 paise per minute.