Telecom regulator to review inter-operator charges for internet telephony services

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on June 22, 2016

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday said that there was a need to look at the inter-operators’ charges for internet telephony services.

As per the present framework, the termination rate for calls originating on a domestic wireless network is set at 14 paise per minute. For rest of domestic calls, termination charge has been set to zero. For international calls, termination charge has been prescribed as 53 paisa per minute.

However, in the case of internet telephony, it is very difficult to identify the originating network. “Difference in termination charge between Internet Telephony and PSTN/PLMN will lead to the possibility of arbitrage and the impact on the market can be substantial. Further, even when a PSTN operator (traditional mobile and fixed line telephone operator) is able to detect internet telephony traffic, it may not be able to differentiate between domestic and international internet telephony calls,” TRAI said in a consultation paper issued to identify issues in providing internet telephony services in a holistic manner.

Internet telephony providers require access to the traditional telecom to terminate calls to recipients who do not subscribe to the internet telephony provider’s service.

“To have sustainable charging regime, there may be a need to have uniform charge to avoid regulatory asymmetries that treat similar services differently based on the technology used to provide the services,” TRAI said.

The regulator is also looking at other issues such as additional entry fee, performance bank guarantee, and financial bank guarantee for internet service providers if they are also allowed to provide unrestricted internet telephony.

TRAI has invited written comments on the paper from stakeholders by July 21, and counter comments by August 4.

Published on June 22, 2016
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