The Mukesh Ambani-led telecom company said that its customers will have to pay 6 paise per minute for voice calls to other rival networks.
Jio had said the 6 paise charge will remain in place till the time telecom operators are required to pay rivals for mobile phone calls made by their users to other operators' network. TRAI had said that the regime would end by January 2020.
Under the new arrangement, Jio subscribers will have to buy IUC top-up vouchers.
"In the meanwhile, consumers can continue to enjoy the additional data entitlement in lieu of the IUC top-up vouchers so that there is no effective tariff increase till 31st December 2019, said Jio". IUC charges are the money that a mobile company pays to others for connecting its calls.
Earlier, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had made a decision to reduce the IUC from levels of 14 paise per minute to 6 paise, with effect from October 1, 2017, and zero from January 1, 2020.
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Currently, Jio only charges for data and voice calls to anywhere in the country is free. "Jio network receives 25 to 30 crore missed calls on a daily basis". "The price differential of free voice on Jio network and exorbitantly high tariffs on 2G networks causes the 35-40 crore 2G customers of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea to give missed calls to Jio customers". At the time of its launch, it had announced that all voice calls will be given for free along with affordable data rates. Jio to landline calls and calls made using WhatsApp or FaceTime and similar platforms will be free as well. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had set the IUC charge which is at 6 paise per minute and now, Jio has imposed this new plan on its customers.
Reliance Jio has made some major changes to its calling plan on Wednesday due to the ongoing debate on the IUC (Interconnect Usage Charge) in the world of the telecom industry. The data entitlement comes in addition to equivalent minutes with the IUC charged at six paise per minute. In the last three years, Jio paid nearly 135 billion rupees ($1.9 billion) as interconnect charges to the other operators.
Since voice calls on the Jio network are free, the company said it had to bear the Rs 13,500 crore payment made to rivals such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Bharti Airtel too in a statement said any step to reduce IUC would add to financial burden of the sector.
IUC is paid by one operator to another, when its customers make outgoing mobile calls to the other operator's customers. However, it floated a consultation paper to review whether the regime timeline needs to be extended. I am sure the lot of them used to taunt any other network users for even thinking about using anything other than Reliance Jio.