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TRAI cuts domestic call termination charges
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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday announced reduction in domestic call termination charges (paid by one operator to another on whose network the call ends), a move that will help further reduce telephone tariffs, particularly that of mobile. The new charges will be effective from April 1.

However, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), representing GSM operators, has objected to the move saying that TRAI has not factored in all costs associated with the termination of a mobile call. Though old operators are against reduction in termination charges on local calls, new licensees have been demanding 0-10 paise a minute termination charge.

Issuing “Telecommunications Interconnection Usage Charges (Tenth Amendment) Regulations”, TRAI said: “Termination charge for all types of domestic calls (fixed-to-fixed, fixed-to-mobile, mobile-to-fixed and mobile-to-mobile) has been reduced to 20 paise from 30 paise a minute. However, termination charge for incoming international calls would be 40 paise a minute against the existing charge of 30 paise a minute.” The authority hoped that the telecom service providers would pass on this benefit in the form of lower tariff.

TRAI, however, retained ceiling on carriage of domestic long distance calls at 65 paise a minute, hoping that it would encourage national long distance operators to expand into rural areas. Similarly, origination charge has not been specified as it would be residual from tariff after payment of other charges, thus providing service providers flexibility of introducing innovative tariff plans, it said.

TRAI also reduced transit/carriage charge from level-II trunk automatic exchange to short distance charging area (SDCA) to 15 paise a minute as against the existing charge of 20 paise a minute, while intra SDCA transit charge would again be 15 paise a minute, down from 20 paise.

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