Reliance Jio recently revealed that it has taken a hit of Rs 13,500 crore due to network connection charges, or interconnect usage charges (IUC). The company announced that it will now start charging for outgoing calls. Jio to Jio calls will be free, whereas voice calls made to rival networks will be charged at 6 paise per minute. Following which there was a lot of backlash from the customers. As a result Reliance Jio has announced a limited time offer where it is going to provide 30 minutes of free talktime.

“Customers will get free talktime of 30 minutes the first time they recharge their phones. This one-time offer will be available for the first seven days from the date the plan was announced,” said a person aware of the development according to an ET report. “This is a handholding exercise to help a smooth transition for subscribers.”

Reliance Jio IUC detailed

This is the first time that Jio users will pay for voice calls. Calling has been free since Reliance Jio was launched in September 2016. After ringtone time reductions, this move is going to set off the new tariff war on voice calls. Even rival telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone could take some steps to recover costs.

Jio’s decision to charge for voice calls comes after the TRAI floated a consultation paper. This was to review if the regime timeline needs to be extended. In 2017, TRAI had slashed the IUC to 6 paise per minute. Earlier, IUC was 14 paise. TRAI had said that the regime would end by January 2020.

“The consultation paper has created regulatory uncertainty and therefore Jio has been compelled, most reluctantly and unavoidably, to recover this regulatory charge of 6 paise per minute for all off-net mobile voice calls so long as IUC charges exist,” the Jio statement said.

“So, for all recharges done by Jio customers starting today, calls made to other mobile operators will be charged at the prevailing IUC rate of 6 paise per minute through IUC top-up vouchers till such time that TRAI moves to zero termination charge regime.

“Presently, this date is January 1, 2020. We are hopeful that the IUC charge will be done away with as per the current regulation and that this temporary charge will come to an end by December 31, 2019 and consumers will not have to pay this charge thereafter. In the meanwhile, consumers can continue to enjoy the additional data entitlement in lieu of the IUC top-up vouchers so that there is no effective tariff increase till 31st December 31, 2019”, Jio said.

Jio will compensate with free talktime and data

Jio said it will compensate customers by giving free data of equal value. Currently, Jio charges only for data, and voice calls to anywhere in the country and to any network are free. On its own network, there is no 6 paise per minute charge on. Jio to landline calls and calls made using WhatsApp or FaceTime and similar platforms will be free as well.

Since voice calls on the Jio network are free, the company had to bear the Rs 13,500 crore payment. This was made to rivals such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. The new rules will apply on all recharges done by Jio customers starting Wednesday.

“Jio will provide additional data entitlement of equivalent value based on IUC top-up voucher consumption. This will ensure no increase in tariff for customers,” Jio said. And now with the new plan to provide free talktime Jio hsa taken another step to appease the masses.

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