Looks like the party for millions of Jio customers is over. After enjoying unlimited free calls for nearly 4 years, Reliance Jio customers would be charged on a per-minute basis, starting from October 9.
Starting from today, all the Jio customers will have to bear the IUC (interconnect usage charge) while making a voice call to other operators. In a statement released today, Reliance Jio has stated that all Reliance Jio customers will have to buy the top IUC vouchers in order to make calls to numbers belong to other operators such as Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL etc.
The ongoing price war between telecom operators in India has stressed the financial records of Airtel and Vodafone, the operators ruling the market until Jio entered the market. The future-ready Jio network has redefined the Indian telecom industry by offering unlimited free calls and high-speed mobile internet at a jaw-dropping price. This forced other telecom operators to start optimising their operational cost and IUC is one of them.
Reliance Jio: No More Free Unlimited Calls
Generally, when a customer makes a voice call to another number that belongs to any other operator, the first operator needs to establish connectivity with the second operator. For this, the first operator has to pay a certain amount on a per-minute basis to the other operator, from the time the phone starts ringing. TRAI has set 6 paise per minute for this.
The tug of war between Jio and Airtel on IUC has forced Jio to pass IUC charge to their 331 million customers across India. The move has come a few days after Airtel decided to cut the ring time to 25 seconds instead of 30 seconds in a bid to compete with Jio that also reduced the ring time to 25 second few weeks earlier. Although Airtel raised an objection against such move initially, but decided to give Jio the taste of their own medicine and reduced the ring time.
It’s important to understand that the first operator is liable to pay to the second operator on the basis of 6 paise per minute since the time a phone starts ringings. By cutting 5 seconds can have a significant impact on the total payout first operator has to pay to other operators for connectivity.
But wait, that doesn’t mean your calls from Reliance Jio network to other operators are going to be expensive. Jio has decided to compensate its customers with free data. The new IUC Vouchers and the free additional data against each voucher are mentioned below.
- Rs 10 plan will offer 124 minutes of IUC minutes to Non-Jio numbers and 1GB data.
- Rs 20 plan will offer 249 minutes of IUC minutes to Non-Jio numbers and 2GB data.
- Rs 50 plan will offer 656 minutes of IUC minutes to Non-Jio numbers and 5GB data.
- Rs 100 plan will offer 1,362 minutes of IUC minutes to Non-Jio numbers and 10GB data.
Reliance Jio has clarified that the above charges are applicable only on calls to other operators. All voice calls to other Jio numbers will be free. The company has also stated that the charges levied on customers are temporary – until TRAI abolished IUC charges completely. It is expected that from January 2020, TRAI may completely end IUC charges, but nothing is certain at this time. TRAI is considering the timeline and the effects on the government as well as on the telecom operators.