A day after Reliance Jio announced an additional Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) for all users on its network starting October 10, the telco has clarified that Jio subscribers who have already purchased a plan are not required to pay any extra IUC. “If you have recharged on or before October 9, you can continue enjoying free call benefits (even to non-Jio numbers), until your plan expires,” said Jio in a statement.
All Jio subscribers will now have to purchase an IUC top-up voucher along with their existing plan unless Trai ends IUC. For those unaware, this charge is basically for the duration of time the phone is ringing when a number is dialled. IUC only applies when a voice call is made between two different operators and it doesn’t matter whether the other person receives the call or misses or disconnects it, the IUC charges gets bills. Recently, IUC made headlines when Airtel alleged that Reliance Jio has reduced its ring duration from 35-40 seconds to 25 seconds to pay lesser IUC. This meant Jio subscribers unknowingly were giving more missed calls to Airtel, Voda-Idea users due to shorter ring duration and lead to more return calls to Reliance Jio’s network, enabling Jio to earn IUC while reducing its costs.
There are four Jio IUC packs at Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100. This will be required to make calls to other operators. The Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100 offer 124 minutes, 249, 656 and 1362 minutes of free IUC respectively. Basically, the customer has to pay the 6 paise per minute IUC now. The moment you call make a call to a user on another telecom operator, these minutes will get deducted.
Telecom regulator Trai in 2017 had slashed IUC from14 paise per minute to 6 paise. Trai was expected to end IUC altogether by January 2020 but this plan is now placed on hold.