Telecom Watchdog’s response on ToI article of 13.08.2017 on MTC

We have read your article titled “You’ll soon pay less for calls, interconnect fee set to be cut: Trai move will benefit Jio, hit other biggies” published in ToI of 13.08.2017. In this regard, we would like to state as follows: –
(i) Scrapping of MTC is a fight between consumers and the incumbents. It is being given a twist as if Jio will be the gainer if MTC is scrapped or reduced. What will happen to consumers in few months down the line, when Jio will nearly equalize its traffic? If MTC is allowed to be continued even at lower rates, the consumers will continue to suffer till the next review happens after few years.
(ii) When in Oct 2011, Trai had given an affidavit before the Supreme Court that by 31.03.2014 it will completely phase out MTC (IUC) and move to Bill And Keep (BAK) at that time Jio was nowhere to be seen. If Trai would have implemented its decision, then consumers would have benefitted. It is in consumer interest that such hidden charges are removed from the tariff.
(iii) In 2013, when Trai under Mr Rahul Khullar had implemented SMS Termination Charges (STC), it benefitted the incumbents. The gain was of the order of Rs 3,000 crore per year to Airtel alone. At that time also we had opposed STC. Our opposition brought down the STC, but eventually Trai could succeed in implementing it at lower levels (2+5 paisa per STC). The entire burden of STC was passed on to the consumers. That is continuing even now. We have to pay a minimum charge due to STC, which is about 10 paisa per SMS. This has become a floor tariff for SMS. Our bankers have started charging it from our bank accounts.

Therefore, we request you to publish the views of the consumers also while carrying out such a story. The way you have given its headline, would discourage the decision makers to take right step ie remove MTC.

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