Last October, Reliance Jiostarted charging its customers 6 paise per minute as Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) for all outgoing voice calls made to non-Jio mobile numbers.
And now, with TRAI deciding to retain IUC for another year, Jio users will have to continue paying this amount in 2020 as well.
However, there are some ways that can help you avoid paying IUC.
So, what is Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC)?
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.
Why did Reliance start charging IUC?
In October 2019, 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.
So, how to avoid IUC? Well, use Wi-Fi Calling
Now, Jio has rolled out Wi-Fi calling in India, and it works on any Wi-Fi network across the country. Hence, to avoid paying IUC, you can use this free-of-cost service to make audio or video calls from your home, office, or any other public Wi-Fi hotspot.
In case you don't have access to a Wi-Fi network, you can use third-party apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Google Duo to make audio/video calls, using cellular data. This way, you can again avoid paying the charges for off-net calls.
Those using an iPhone can also use FaceTime to connect with their friends and family if they also have a compatible device.
Last resort: Pick a plan that offers off-net calling minutes
Finally, Jio has updated all its prepaid plans to pack data and off-net talk time in a single plan. Depending on your needs, you can pick one of these packs, so that you don't have to pay any amount for making calls to other networks.