Reliance Jio has announced it would charge 6 paise per minute on voice calls made by its users to mobile phone networks of rivals like Airtel and Vodafone-Idea. The move has left a lot of Jio users perplexed as to why Reliance Jio has taken such a decision. Reliance Jio had, of course, promised its users life-long free calls. But, there also goes a rationale behind this step by billionaire Mukesh Ambani's company.
Why has Jio decided to charge users on voice calls:
First, Reliance Jio will charge its users for voice calls made to rival networks only. The new charge does not stand applicable on calls made to other Jio phones or landlines. Jio users will not have to bear the said cost on calls using WhatsApp, FaceTime, and other such platforms.
Second, Reliance Jio has made it crystal clear that incoming calls from all networks will continue to be free. Do note that the new charge is only for outgoing calls to other networks.
Third, Jio has said that the charge would last till such time that TRAI regulations require payments to rival networks for completing calls. The regulatory uncertainty comes after TRAI reopened the issue of sunset clause for the so-called interconnect user charge (IUC). In 2017, TRAI had slashed IUC to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise and had proposed to end the regime on December 31, 2019, after considering various factors. However, now it has floated a consultation paper to review whether the timeline needs to be extended.
Fourth, Reliance Jio has promised to compensate its users on 6 paisa/minute charge by giving them free data of equivalent amount.
Fifth, Reliance Jio said it made the move to recover the losses created by the TRAI move. Also, the company said in its statement a highly charged 35-40 crore 2G users of rival networks ended up giving missed calls to its users since voice calls on Jio network were free. This, in turn, resulted in a payout of Rs 13,500 crore to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea in last three years.