The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a complaint against Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio, Airtel and Sify Technologies which alleged that they were charging higher rates for overseas inbound calls as compared to the ceiling fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
The order came after Canada-based Teleclub (Alberta Limited) filed a complaint. As per the complainant, Indian telecom service providers together decided to charge standard rate of $0.0053 for inbound calls terminating on their network in India, instead of the rates fixed by TRAI.
As per interconnect usage charges (IUC) Regulations, 2018, TRAI prescribes international termination charges (ITC) of Rs 0.30 per minute for international incoming calls to wireline and wireless networks.
Further, it added that the telecom operators increased the rate of inbound calls to $0.0115 per minute after another meeting in February 2018.
Subsequently, the CCI sought TRAI’s opinion on the matter.
From CCI’s submission, TRAI noted that as per the IUC Regulations, the regulator has prescribed the ITC for international incoming calls but international settlement charge (ISC) is not regulated under the norms and has to be decided based on mutual negotiations between the Indian long distance operators and foreign service providers. Further, CCI noted that the complainant has “mistaken International Termination Charges i.e. ITC as International Settlement Charge i.e. ISC”.
Therefore, while disposing of the complaint, CCI stated that it has prima facie not found any evidence to indicate that service providers have fixed the rates through any concerted action amongst themselves, so as to warrant an investigation.