In a surprise move, today Reliance Jio has decided that they are going to charge their customer 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to rival phone networks such as Airtel, Vodafone etc. Jio has said that this is because of IUC (Interconnect Usage Charge). They have also said that they will also compensate their customer by giving free data.
In A Simple Word What Just Happened
Till now if you are a Jio customer and if you have done a recharge any of the unlimited plans offered by Jio then you can any number for free. But from now if you call any non-Jio numbers means to Airtel, Vodafone-Idea or BSNL then Jio will charge you 6 paise per minute till the time you ringing the other person. That means the local and STD calls from Jio to other mobile networks is no longer free and unlimited.
However, if you are making a call to a Jio number or a landline number, then you don’t have to pay anything. Also, all incoming calls, as well as WhatsApp calls, will stay unaffected from this. Before you worry, Jio has announced new top-up vouchers which offer a predefined number of voice calls to other mobile networks and additional data as well.
New Jio Plans For IUC Charge
Jio has introduced four new plan for the IUC charge with extra data benefit such as
- Rs 10 plan will offer 124 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 1GB data.
- Rs 20 plan will offer 249 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 2GB data.
- Rs 50 plan will offer 656 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 5GB data.
- Rs 100 plan will offer 1,362 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 10GB data.
Why Jio Is Charging IUC All Of A Sudden?
The Interconnect Usage Charge or IUC is a tariff paid by one mobile telecom operator to another when the customers of one mobile network make outgoing mobile calls to another operator’s mobile network. Currently, according to TRAI, all operators have to pay 6 paise per minute IUC.
Telecom regulator TRAI in 2017 had slashed the so-called interconnect usage charge (IUC) to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise January 2020. Jio wants the TRAI to go for zero IUC charge and that could happen after 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.
What Does It Mean For Customer Of Other Operators
Because of Jio’s low priced plans, other operators have to offer something close to those plans, if not lower. Now, the likes of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea will also see charging for calls made to other networks as an option. If that is to happen, then the cost of using a mobile connection will surely go up.
For the first time after launch in 2016 Jio customers are going to pay price for calling using Jio network. Till now they only have to pay for the data price because calling was free and unlimited. This was one of the main reason that has attracted millions of customer to use Jio Network. Now we have to wait and see how Jio customers are going to react to this.
“Jio again assures its 35 crore customers that the 6 paise per minute charge on outgoing off-net mobile calls shall continue only till the time TRAI abolishes IUC, in line with its present regulation,” says Jio.