New Delhi: There was an overwhelming majority who supported ending the IUC charges of 6 paisa on mobile calls termination, except two operators, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, at the open house held by Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI).
The open house was attended by 155 people, including consumers from across the country. Mobile operators including Reliance Jio, BSNL and MTNL also attended.
The open house was called to discuss whether the date of January 1, 2020 needs to be postponed to introduce the Bill and Keep (B&K) regime or not.
Sources said the overwhelming majority of consumers were in favour of ending the IUC charges and it was only opposed by two operators, Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
SS Sirohi, former Member (Technology), Telecom Commission, said that the sense of the house was to end the IUC charges as decided earlier from January 1 by the TRAI regulation paper of 2017.
Sirohi said that there is no need to postpone the January 1 date and the issues that have been raised in the TRAI consultation paper like traffic asymmetry and cost of calls have already been settled in the TRAI 2017 paper after wide consultations and it was decided that the B&K regime is the best regime for telecom and should be implemented at the earliest.
He said that it is surprising why this TRAI consultation paper on extending the January 1 date was circulated for grounds and questions that have already been settled, and that too it was floated in September, so close to the January 1 date, when the new regime has to be implemented.
He added that the sense of the open house was that consumers will feel disappointed if the 6 paisa charges are not abolished and it is beyond comprehension why the consultation paper was issued by TRAI.
"For maximizing consumer welfare (that is consumer gets adequate choice, affordable tariff and good quality and innovative services) in a sustainable manner and adoption of more efficient technologies are vital for orderly growth of the telecom services sector in the country, it is imperative that IUC for termination must removed from 1.1.2020 as envisaged in TRAI IUC Regulation 2017 for larger interest of all stakeholders," Sirohi said.
"It will also be in line with promotion of the objective of National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018 for broadband proliferation/broadband for all by 2022," he added.