Incumbent telecom operators have only a week's time to get their plea heard ahead of holiday.
Mumbai: Top three telecom operators -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular -- have very little time left to challenge in court sector regulator Trai's recent order on interconnect usage charge, IUC, according to a report in The Economic Times. The trio is working out contours of the case to take it up with a competent authority.
They claim a very low rate of IUC will inflict on them an 'irreversible dame'. The new IUC rate of 6 paise will come into effect on October 1, which means only eight days are remaining for the companies to bring the case in court of law.
IUC is a fee that a destination network charges a source network for receiving, connecting and then ending a voice call originating from the source network. The charge is borne by voice call originating network.
Trai on Wednesday had cut IUC, which is also known as call termination charge, by around 57 per cent from 14 paise to 6 paise overlooking, a decision which has not gone down well with the incumbent operators who argue the step will further push them into financial trouble.
The report says that three companies will have to hasten their petition against Trai's fresh order on IUC and file it with a competent court on Friday only so that the case is heard on Monday itself.
An unidentified industry executive who was quoted ET says Monday is the earliest possible day for hearing. The carriers need to figure out which high court they want to approach. “They have to make a strong case as they will get just one shot at this,” the person said.
Cellular Operators Association of India director general Rajan Mathews says telecom companies may approach court with an aim to get a stay.
ET quoted him as saying: “Telcos will go to the court keeping in mind that they have to get a stay and prove to the court that irreversible damage will happen if IUC of 6 paise is allowed in the way that it has been said in the regulation.”
COAI is an umbrella organisation that represents all the telecom operators in India.