February 13, 2020

CCI Rejects Complaint Against Vodafone, Jio, Airtel, Sify

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a complaint against Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Airtel and Sify Technologies which alleged that these telecom companies charge higher rates for overseas inbound calls as compared to the ceiling fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The order came in response to a complaint filed by Canada-based Teleclub (Alberta Ltd), which is an international telecom carrier.

Teleclub had alleged that Indian telecom companies jointly decided to charge a standard rate of USD 0.0053 for inbound calls terminating on their network in India, instead of rates fixed by the TRAI.

According to Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) Regulations, 2018, the TRAI prescribes international termination charges (ITC) of Rs 0.30 per minute for international incoming calls to wireline and wireless networks, it said.

It added that the telecom operators further increased the rate of inbound calls to USD 0.0115 per minute after another meeting in February 2018. Besides, they allegedly harassed the firm by choking its ports used for sending traffic, Teleclub alleged.

Later, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) sought TRAI’s opinion on the matter.

After TRAI’s submission, CCI noted that as per IUC Regulations, TRAI has prescribed the ITC for international incoming calls but international settlement charges (ISC) is not regulated under those norms. Hence these are decided based on mutual negotiations between Indian long distance operators as well as foreign service providers.

The CCI also noted that Teleclub has “mistaken International Termination Charges (ITC) as International Settlement Charge (ISC).

While disposing of the complaint, the CCI stated that it has prima facie not found any evidence to indicate that rates were fixed by any concerted action amongst telecom operators, so as to warrant a probe.

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