TRAI seeks more time for finalising IU Charge regime

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 07, 2011

Supreme Court (file photo)

The telecom regulator TRAI has requested the Supreme Court (SC) for three months extension for completing formulation of the new Interconnection Usage Charge (IUC) regime.

The Apex court had earlier given TRAI four months time on February 4 for coming up with recommendation on telecom interconnection charges which expired on June 4.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had in an application filed on Friday requested the apex court “to grant further 3 months time to TRAI to carry out exercise in framing IUC regulation”.

Meanwhile, the TRAI, which is facing opposition from the new and old established telecom operators over the issues and methods adopted in consultation process to review IUC, has requested the apex court to give suitable directions over it.

It has requested the apex court to “grant suitable direction regarding the procedure and method to be followed by it (TRAI) since there are difficulties/issues with regard to implementation of compliance with the directions of TDSAT in the impugned order”.

Interconnection charges are paid by a telecom service provider for using network of other operators for transmitting and completing a call.

TRAI’s IUC regulation was widely opposed by the state run BSNL and private operators — Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel, Etisalat DB and CDMA lobby group AUSPI on various grounds.

Last month, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal had dismissed the plea filed by the UK—based telecom operator Vodafone, opposed some of the questions incorporated in the IUC consultation paper of TRAI.

On February 4 this year a three—judge bench of the apex court headed by the Chief Justice Mr S H Kapadia had directed TRAI to frame the IUC regulation afresh as per the directions of the TDSAT.

The TDSAT had on September 29 last year set aside the TRAI’s Interconnection Usage Charges (Regulation), 2009 and asked the telecom regulator to bring out fresh regulations in consultations with various stake holders.

Following it, the TRAI on April 27 issued a consultation paper on IUC. However, a set of GSM companies questioned some of the issued raised in it, contending that it was not in accordance with the directions of TDSAT.

In its 2009 IUC regulation, the TRAI had fixed a mobile termination charge (MTC) at 20 paise per minute for all local and national long distance charges.

It had also raised the MTC for incoming international calls to 40 paise per minute from 30 paise, while putting a ceiling on carriage fee of 65 paise per minute for domestic long distance calls.

Published on June 07, 2011

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