Explained: Why Reliance Jio is charging for outgoing calls for Airtel, Vodafone

Jio says this 6 paise per minute charge only applies to outgoing calls made to Vodafone-Idea and Airtel networks. The IUC charges will not apply to Jio to Jio calls, any incoming calls, calls to landlines, or calls made using WhatsApp or other OTT platforms.

When Reliance Jio mobile service went live in September 2016, it caused a radical shift in the telecom industry. Jio made some big claims, one being that calls on the network would always be free. It was also a 4G VOLTE-only network when it launched, with no legacy 2G or 3G network. Further, the company’s cheap mobile data prices ensured a price war in the Indian telecom sector with Airtel and Vodafone also slashing their rates.

However, on Wednesday Reliance Jio announced it would start charging customers Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC ), which is currently at 6 paisa per minute, on all outgoing calls made to Airtel and Vodafone-Idea’s networks. Reliance Jio has announced some IUC top-up vouchers, which will give customers certain minutes to make outgoing calls.
So does this mean Jio calls are no longer free? We explain below:

What has Reliance Jio announced with its IUC top-up vouchers?

IUC is the cost paid by one mobile telecom operator to another when its customers make outgoing mobile calls to the other operator’s customers. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has fixed the IUC rates at 6 paise per minute, though it used be a little higher at 14 paise per minute. TRAI wants to bring IUC to zero from January 1, 2020.

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