Delhi High Court today sought TRAI’s response on Bharti Airtel’s plea challenging the regulator’s Interconnect Usage Charges Regulations fixing termination charges for landline to wireless as zero paise and wireless to wireless at 14 paise per minute.
Interconnection Usage Charges (IUC) or termination charges are payable by one telco, whose subscriber makes a call, to another whose subscriber receives the call. The charge is payable by the first for using the second’s network.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and sought its reply by the next date of hearing on March 1.
The court also tagged the matter with a similar plea moved by Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd in November last year.
In its plea, Airtel has sought quashing of the Telecom Interconnect Usage Charges Regulations issued by TRAI on February 23 last year.
The telecom major has also sought directions to TRAI “to fix termination charges by applying the cost based and work done principle on a non-discriminatory basis”.
Vodafone in its plea has claimed that the regulations are illegal, bad in fact and in law, arbitrary and in gross violation of the principles of natural justice, beyond the functions of TRAI.
Vodafone had told the court that the fixation of terms of interconnectivity, which includes the termination charge by TRAI, cannot be zero where costs are incurred by the terminating operator and therefore, the regulations fixing the charge as zero is ultra vires the provisions of TRAI Act.