Info-tech

Telecom rates may fall as TRAI cuts inter-operator fees

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 10, 2018

BL19_P7_TRAI

Revised charges to be effective from October 1





Telecom tariffs could come down with the regulator reducing the charges payable between two operators. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has specified new ceiling rates, which is at Rs 10,000 a year for fixed line telephone calls and at Rs 4,000 for mobile services. At present, operators pay over Rs 39,000 to each other.

Called port charge, this fee is paid by one operator to another for terminating a call. For example, if an Airtel subscriber calls a Vodafone user then Airtel has to interconnect with Vodafone and pay these charges on an annual basis.

A reduction in these charges would affect the tariffs if the operators chose to pass on the benefit to the consumer. “This will help operators bring down costs and to that extent it may help in offering affordable services,” said Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India.

COAI, the industry body representing private GSM players, had petitioned TRAI for the reduction. The revised charges would be implemented from October 1.

BSNL UNHAPPY

The biggest impact of this regulation will be on Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), which stands to lose from getting lower fees from private players.

BSNL has already taken TRAI to court on an earlier regulation on this issue. BSNL contended that lowering the port charges was wrong, illegal and incorrect as the cost of main equipment and total expenses were not taken into account by the TRAI.

The State-run telecom company had told TRAI that the port charges should be fixed at Rs 46,500 per annum. Rejecting BSNL’s proposal, TRAI said the calculations were not based on costs. The regulator said that though BSNL had challenged TRAI’s powers in court there was no restraint order.

According to sources in BSNL, the company may approach the court once again on the issue given the new regulations announced by TRAI on Tuesday.

> thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 18, 2012

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