The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has deferred the implementation of the zero-interconnect usage charges (IUC) regime by one year.

As per TRAI’s Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (Fifteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2019, the regulator has prescribed the revision in the date of applicability of Bill and Keep (BAK) regime in respect of wireless to wireless domestic call termination charges.

These charges would continue to remain as Re 0.06 per minute up to December 31, 2020. And from January 1, 2021 onwards the termination charge for wireless to wireless domestic calls shall be zero.

Domestic termination charges are the wholesale charges payable by a telecom service provider (TSP) whose subscriber originates the call to the TSP in whose network the call terminates.

Following this move, telcos will continue to earn 6 paise a minute for every mobile call they receive on their network till December 2020. The move is likely to bring some respite to Airtel and Vodafone Idea who have been insisting on deferring the implementation of BAK regime even as Reliance Jio was in favor of its immediate implementation.

With regard to this, TRAI had earlier issued a discussion paper in September 2019.  The regulator had stated that consumers are yet to migrate completely to data calls and that the imbalance in voice traffic between operators still exists.

As per an earlier announcement by TRAI in 2018, the IUC regime was to come in effect from January 2020.