Reliance Jio has announced that it will start charging customers 6 paise per minute as Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) for all outgoing voice calls made to non-Jio mobile numbers.
The new voice charge, that will be recovered from October 10 onwards, would be at the prevailing IUC rate fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Here's all about Jio's new move.
First, what is Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC)?
An IUC is an amount paid by one telecom operator to another when its customers make outgoing calls (off-net calls) to the other operator's customers. The IUC rates are decided by the TRAI and are currently fixed at 6 paise per minute.
No more free calls
Why is Jio introducing IUC charges now?
In a press release, Jio said that it has been "compelled" to charge customers as it can no longer offer free outgoing calls to non-Jio mobile numbers.
The company has "accused" other operators like Airtel and Vodafone-Idea of charging exorbitant tariffs (Rs. 1.50/minute) from their 2G/3G customers which causes them to give missed calls, converting incoming calls to Jio into outgoing calls.
"Paid over Rs. 13,500 crore as net IUC charges"
In its statement, Jio also said that in the last three years, the company has "paid nearly Rs. 13,500 crore as NET IUC charges to the other operators" and that it will continue to charge customers till these charges are abolished by the TRAI.
What does it mean for current Jio subscribers?
For Jio customers, all off-net calls made to non-Jio mobile numbers will be chargeable at 6 paise per minute.
However, all incoming calls, Jio-to-Jio calls, outgoing calls to landlines, and data calls (like FaceTime or WhatsApp calls) will be free of charge.
And to meet these IUC charges, Jio has introduced new top-up vouchers that will provide talk time to customers.
All IUC top-ups come with free data
In a bid to control end customers' tariffs, Jio will provide additional data based on all IUC top-up vouchers.
With the base-end Rs. 10 IUC top-up voucher, you'll get 124 minutes of calling time to non-Jio mobile numbers and 1GB of free data.
Likewise, with the Rs. 100 plan, you'll get 1,362 minutes of calling and 10GB of free data.
'Hopeful that IUC charge will end by December 31, 2019'
"We are hopeful that the IUC charge will be done away with as per the current regulation and that this temporary charge will come to an end by December 31, 2019 and consumers will not have to pay this charge thereafter," read Jio's statement.