India's telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Friday decided to lower port charges that allows cellular operators to connect to BSNL and MTNL lines by up to 29 per cent from April 1, a move which is expected to result in tariff cuts.
Issuing the amended Regulations on Port charges, TRAI said it expects that service providers will pass the benefit of reduction in port charges to the consumers.
Port is an essential part for the establishment of the interconnection between two networks. Port charges are paid by interconnection seekers to the provider (such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) for terminating interconnection links on the network.
Comments from operators whether they would reduce tariffs and that of BSNL, which would lose revenue, were not immediately available.
The reduction in existing charges is about 23-29 per cent for various slabs. The revised port charges from April 1 will be in the range Rs 10,500-Rs 39,000 instead of the current Rs 14,000-Rs 55,000, a TRAI statement said.
Port charges, which private players pay to BSNL and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd, have always been a bone of contention as operators complain of the state-owned companies overcharging.
Interconnection seekers are mandated to place their demand for the required number of ports, on every Point of Interconnection (POI) on the basis of traffic projection, on six monthly basis.
TRAI said there has been a long pending demand by interconnection seekers that port charges need to be reviewed to align with the current switch and exchange costs.
The regulator said with rising competition in telecom sector, interconnection among service providers has become an essential requirement for the development of the sector.
In the multi-operator multi-service scenario, establishment of effective interconnection helps consumers of one network to communicate with consumers of another network, the TRAI statement said.