New Delhi: There has been an ongoing debate on the IUC (Interconnect Usage Charge) in the telecom industry for a while and the last we talked about it, both Airtel and Jio had reduced the ring time for outgoing calls to 20 seconds.

However, the case is dealt with by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and while the outcome may take some time, Reliance Jio has already taken a move to offset the losses it has been incorporating due to the IUC.

In a surprising move, Jio has announced that it will charge customers for levying the IUC charge on all outgoing calls to other networks for the time being. The IUC charge set by TRAI is currently at 6 paise per minute and Jio will pass this expense to its customers if they are calling someone from another operator. Jio has come up with a few IUC plans that customers can purchase in order to make calls to other networks. The new Jio regulations have been implemented from Wednesday.

If you didn't understand that, here's the simple explanation.

If you have a Jio number and you call someone using an Airtel or Vodafone-Idea number, you will be charged 6 paise per minute till the time you keep ringing. The calls will still be free to all other operator but you will have to pay 6 paise per minute till the time you ringing the other person.

However, if you are making a call to a Jio number or a landline number, then you don't have to pay anything. Also, all incoming calls, as well as WhatsApp calls, will stay unaffected from this. The IUC charge will also be applicable to postpaid users and it will be added to their billing cycle.

New Jio IUC plans

Jio is offering four new IUC plans with extra data benefits. Here are all the plans listed with the benefits:

--Rs 10 plan will offer 124 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 1GB data.

--Rs 20 plan will offer 249 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 2GB data.

--Rs 50 plan will offer 656 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 5GB data.

--Rs 100 plan will offer 1,362 minutes of IUC minutes to non-Jio numbers and 10GB data.

What is IUC?

IUC or Interconnect Usage Charge is the amount a telecom operator has to pay to the other telecom operator if a customer makes an outgoing call to a customer of the other telecom operator. The TRAI decides the IUC charge and currently, all operators have to pay 6 paise per minute.

Why is Jio doing this?

Jio wants the TRAI to go for zero IUC charge and that seems to be happening by early 2020. While other operators charge their customers for calls, Jio offers free calls on its network and hence, it has to bear losses as Jio pays the IUC charge for every call made to another network.

"The amendment to the IUC Regulations in 2017 was after considerable deliberations and consultations. In this background 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," says Jio.

When will the IUC charges end for Jio customers?

"Jio again assures its 35 crore customers that the 6 paise per minute charge on outgoing off-net mobile calls shall continue only till the time TRAI abolishes IUC, in line with its present regulation," says Jio.

Courtesy: www.indiatoday.in

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.