Reliance Jio has decided to charge its customers 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to rival phone networks till interconnect usage charges or network connection charges are eliminated. However, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's telecommunication company will compensate its users by giving free data of equal value.
This is the first time when Jio users have been asked to pay for voice calls which have been free so far since September 2016.
“The 6 paisa 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,” Jio said in a statement.
These charges are not applicable on Jio to Jio calls made by phones, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and other such platforms. Incoming calls from all networks will continue to be free.
Jio is currently charging only for data, and voice calls to anywhere in the country and to any network are free.
Telecom regulator TRAI in 2017 had slashed the so-called interconnect usage charge (IUC) to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise and had said this regime will end by January 2020. But it has now floated a consultation paper to review whether the regime timeline needs to be extended.
Since voice calls on Jio network are free, the company had to bear the Rs 13,500 crore payment made to rivals such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. To recover the losses created by the TRAI move, the company has decided to charge customers 6 paise per minute for every call they make to a rival's network.
With Agency Inputs