Jio has alleged that review of call connect charges by regulator "sabotages" the Prime Minister's vision for Digital India, and will hit not only the regulator's credibility but also investor confidence as the move protects vested interests of some old operators. Continuing its relentless attack on the regulator and old operators over the contentious IUC (interconnect usage charge) issue that has polarised the industry, Jio alleged that TRAI’s move is arbitrary, bad in law, unwarranted, and anti-poor.
Jio alleged that "certain incumbent telcos" want their large body of 2G customers to forever remain digitally disempowered and deprived of the fruits of the digital revolution. TRAI’s consultation paper "protects and perpetuates the vested interests" of such players, it added.
It said that any change in implementation of original timeline of January 1, 2020 will end the free voice regime and is likely to increase tariffs which are against consumer interest.
A telecom operator pays for completing calls made by its subscribers to a rival network. This is done by paying the rival network an interconnect usage charge, which currently is 6 paise per minute.
Jio accused certain old operators of exploiting their 2G customers by charging "extortionist rates" for voice calls, which are offered free to all Jio's 4G-only customers.
"The Consultation Paper...undermines and sabotages Prime Minister's Digital India vision and mission," Jio said in its comment to Trai's consultation paper. It is unfortunate that instead of profiting the poor and marginalised sections of Indian society, the consultation paper has chosen to help profiteers in the telecom business, Jio alleged.