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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Bengaluru: A 97-year old man became the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine here as the drive for inoculating the general public got underway in Karnataka on Monday.

After the vaccination drive since January 16 covered health workers and frontline workers, the next phase started from Monday for all people above 60 years of age and those over 45 with comorbidities.

Senior citizens sporting face masks queued up at private Manipal Hospitals here for getting the vaccine shot.

Some of the beneficiaries were wheelchair bound.

"Ramaswami Parthasarathy, 97-year-old, was the first to get vaccinated," Manipal Hospitals said in a statement.

The hospital appealed to the senior citizens and people above 45 years with comorbidities to register themselves for inoculation.

"We at Manipal Hospitals have started the vaccination drive today. The registrations for the vaccination can be competed online through the CoWIN app, and people in the age group of 60 plus can directly walk-in for the vaccination," it said in the statement.

The hospital was cooperating with the government and abiding by the standard procedures and protocols for the vaccination drive, it added.

Meanwhile, the government hospitals too started the preparations for vaccination.

"Today only we got direction from the government. We are starting the registration process from today and will begin the vaccination drive once the preparations are over," Director and Dean of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Dr C R Jayanthi told PTI.

The state government has said vaccination will take place at all its taluk and district level hospitals and two identified private hospitals in each district.

According to the state health department, vaccination days will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in government facilities and all working days in private hospitals.

The number of vaccinations would be limited to 200 per day per session site and would be on a first come first serve basis. However, online registered beneficiaries would be allotted a specific time in a day.