New TRAI regulation could bring down ISD calling rates

TRAI is annoyed by the fact that customers still don’t have the option of buying international calling cards from the International Long Distance Operator of their choice although it has been 14 years since the proposal was first rolled out and it could mean cheaper ISD minutes. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has now announced regulations for the charges an ILDO must expect to pay to access providers.

Access providers are local telecom companies and the charges for international subscriber dialing (ISD) must be paid to them by ILDOs. Accordingly, the rate has been fixed at 40 paise a minute for wireless services and Rs 1.20 per minute with regards to wireline services. At present, users aren’t permitted to decide which ILDO’s facility they wish to employ and this means they may not get the best available deal.

Man With Phone

But Indian telecom brands are known to be averse to competition, a point they proved most recently by trying to get OTT service providers such as WhatsApp and Skype to share their revenues with them. It’s a good thing Telecom Regulatory Authority of India didn’t give in to such baseless demands seeing as operators like Airtel, Reliance and Vodafone already gain in the form of customers buying more data as they spend more time using OTT services.

Also see: TRAI refuses to regulate OTT services like Skype and WhatsApp

With regards to the matter at hand, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued a directive asking service providers to enable subscribers to select their NLDO/ILDO for making STD/ISD calls, way back in 2002. The order was obviously met by opposition and when it was brought up again in 2008, telecom companies said long distance operators should be allowed to sell calling cards directly to users. Intelligent Network Regulations were altered to give room for time-bound agreements.

Service providers have been trying to stifle even the slightest possibility to competition and some played dirty by offering unfeasible access charges to ILDOs. TRAI decided to grab the problem by the throat and has now announced the new rates in accordance with the ‘Revenue Sharing Arrangement for Calling Card Services’ consultation paper that was issued on 14 November, 2013.