Reliance Jio has issued a public notice stating that all Jio subscribers who have recharged their connections on or before October 9 will not need to pay any Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) fees. Instead, they will continue to enjoy free calling benefits until their plan expires. The current IUC is priced at six paise per minute.

What is Interconnect Usage Charge?
IUC are the charges that a telecom service provider has to pay to other telecom operators whenever a user makes an off-net call to another person. This helps the telecom operators cover the extra load that another operator’s call is putting on their network.

What is Jio plan of charging IUC?
Reliance Jio had announced that it would start charging its customers IUC charges for calls made to other networks. It has revealed that it will charge its users IUC till January 1 next year. After which, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to drop the IUC charges to zero.

The company has announced the availability of new IUC recharges, which will allow Jio users to make calls to other networks like Airtel and Vodafone. These plans are priced at Rs 10 for 124 minutes, Rs 20 for 249 minutes, Rs 50 for 656 minutes, Rs 100 for 1,362 minutes.

The company has also stated that to reimburse the customers it will provide them with additional data of 1GB on Rs 10, 2GB on Rs 20, 5GB on Rs 50 and 10GB on Rs 100 recharge. For postpaid customers, it will charge six paise per minute in their bill.

The six paise per minute IUC fee will only be applicable to outgoing calls made to any other network than Reliance Jio. IUC charges will also not be applicable any incoming calls, calls to landlines or calls made using any VoIP services.

As of now, only Reliance Jio has asked its users to pay the IUC charges that occur when they make calls. Both Airtel and Vodafone Idea are still not charging their customers any additional fees to cover these charges.

After this announcement was made by Reliance Jio, Airtel put out a press release stating that this charge is being levied to force IUC to be brought down despite the heavy burden it puts on the receiving network. Vodafone Idea has also jumped into this and started running social media ads stating, “Free means free on unlimited plans, no vouchers needed.”

Source: The Indian Express

(Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper III; Science & Technology)