TRAI cuts rate for internetwork calls
The telecom regulator made radical changes to the industry’s tariff structure, slashing by 30 per cent the amount that mobile operators pay to each other for calls made from one network to another and scrapping similar charges for wireline operators. Now, calls made from landline to landline or landline to mobiles will not include the interconnection usage charge (IUC), which was 20 paise. A mobile phone operator will now need to pay 14 paise a minute for each call terminating on a rival's network. IUC makes up about 20 per cent of mobile call tariff that a user pays.
“To promote investment in, and adoption of, wireline networks, so that they may become an effective vehicle for the delivery of high-speed Internet in the country, the Authority has decided to prescribe FTC (fixed termination) as well as MTC (mobile termination charge) for wireline to wireless calls as zero,” TRAI said.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which hold over 70 per cent of the market share, have the maximum calls emanating and ending on their networks. The rest is made up of smaller operators such as Uninor, Aircel, Tata Teleservices and Videocon, whose call rates are typically much lower than the big three.
IUC, which has historically been revised every two to three years, was last amended in 2009 and the matter has been pending in apex court. "As a significant amount of time has lapsed since the last review, the Authority initiated this review of IUC regime in November 2014," TRAI said.
TRAI increased interconnect charges for international calls terminating on a local network to 53 paise from 40 paise earlier. These are charges foreign operators need to pay to local players. As a result, cost of making an overseas call from India would be comparable with international calls terminating in the country, which could encourage more outbound calls.
Landline connections have been declining since incoming calls on mobiles were made free. While the mobile subscriber base at the end of 2014 reached an all-time high at 94.39 crore, landline connections were only 2.7 crore.
Consumer court penalizes two colleges in Indore
The Indore district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed two colleges to compensate for financial lapses.
Simant Shrimal, 21, of Sehore took admission in Indore Indira Business School on 24 May 2013 for PGDM/MBA course, for which he deposited Rs 30,000 admission fee. College officials later denied admission with a promise to return the fee by September 2013. However, Simant did not receive money till December 2013. Even his father Anil Shrimal's plea fell on deaf ears. Simant then moved the forum asking the college to return the deposited fee with eight per cent interest, along with Rs 20,000 for mental harassment and Rs 10,000 spent on legal expenses. All the relevant documents and fee receipts were produced, following which the consumer forum issued several notices to the respondents. There was no reply, though. The forum then directed the college to return the admission fee with additional Rs 3,000 and Rs 1,000 for mental harassment and legal expenses, respectively.
Similarly, Sumit Chauhan of Betma took admission in Jagadguru Dattatray College of Technology (LNCT Group), Indore, in July 2013 and paid Rs 20,000 along with the marksheet of class X and domicile certificate. Because of some reason, Sumit had to cancel his admission and requested the college to return the money. The college official in reply told him to pay Rs 60,000 for cancellation of admission and refused to return the money. Sumit then moved the court. When the respondents did not reply to several notices by the forum, it directed the college to return Rs 20,000 with 8 per cent interest within three month. A fine of Rs 3,000 was slapped for mental harassment and litigation expenses.