New Delhi | Jagran Tech Desk: India's telecom giant Reliance Jio has announced that it will charge 6 paisa per minute for making voice calls to rival phone networks. In a statement, Jio said that the charge will remain in place till the operators are required to pay the rivals for mobile phone calls. However, the company said that it will compensate its customers by offering free data of equal value.

The Jio users will also have to buy an additional IUC top-up voucher from October 10 to outgoing calls to other mobile operators. The new amendment applies to both pre-paid and post-paid users with an increase in free data entitlement. This is the first time that Jio users will have to pay for the above.

The charges are not applicable to calling Jio to Jio users and calls made via WhatsApp, and other messenger platforms. Incoming calls will continue to be free.

Jio backed its charging, saying it paid nearly Rs 13,500 crore as IUC charges to rivals Airtel and Vodafone-Idea in the past three years. The additional charges are required to recover its losses.

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"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," Jio said in a statement.

The minimum IUC plan is Rs 10 and it goes up to Rs 100 upon duration. Rs 10 plan (124 minutes to non-Jio numbers and 1 GB data), Rs 20 (249 mins + 2 GB data), Rs 50 (656 mins + 5GB data) and Rs 100 (1362 mins + 10 GB data).

The company has around 35 crore customers in India. As of now, Jio only charges for data and voice calls across the country to any network.

In 2017, telecom regulator TRAI had reduced the interconnect usage charge from 14 paise to 6 paise and said that such charges will come to an end by January 2020.

Posted By: James Kuanal