Telcos passing off wirelines as mobile numbers to evade charges: Jio

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Reliance Jio has accused Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) of fraudulently claiming interconnect usage charge (IUC) from it, for incoming calls on landline numbers.

At the same time, it has led to undue enrichment of older operators, Jio said, asking Trai to take "immediate cognizance of these serious violations".

Jio said in all these cases the mobile number acts as a virtual number for routing customer care and helpline-related calls.

After incumbent telcos such as Bharti and Vodafone issued their points of view and even seemingly trolled Reliance Jio for the latter's move to charge 6 paise per minute as Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) amounting to 6 paise per minute, Jio has now hit back with a series of tweets. "The decline in outgoing traffic would be the highest for Jio, followed by Airtel and Vodafone Idea", it said. "We as Jio, working closely with key partners like Samsung will ensure that we continue to help India leapfrog traditional technologies by advancing the existing 4G all-IP infrastructure and leverage the end-to-end fiber, 5G, and IoT ecosystems towards a digital infrastructure platform". Now, Jio has stated that they are just going by what the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) has suggested, and the IUC collected is in line with TRAI's requirements. Jio lamented that not only is it being made to cough up termination charge of 6 paise per minute (since these calls are allegedly being fradulently shown as mobile terminations) but is also losing out on revenue of Rs 0.52/minute for such calls (charge that originating operator should in fact receive on such toll free calls).

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At the time, Jio said it had 331 million subscribers at the end of June, however Samsung said on Tuesday that number had risen to over 340 million by the end of August. This changes nature and character of call from "mobile to wireline network" to "mobile to mobile network", Jio complained. "There is no loss to originating operator as the customer always dials a mobile and not a fixed-line number".

Jio recently started charging 6 paise a minute for calls to other networks.

Jio has also asked for penalties to be put on those operators practising the activities.

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