International call rates may soon get cheaper if Telecom Regulator Authority of India or TRAI, the regulator of the telecom business in India, has its way.
TRAI is reviewing charges paid by International Long Distance Operators (ILDOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to Cable Landing Stations (CLS) in India for landing international voice and data traffic on India’s shores.
These landing stations connect the country to rest of the world through undersea cables and charge for all the calls originating and terminating in India.
A number of undersea cable-based international consortiums like SMW4, SMW3, TIC and Falcon provide international bandwidth to Indian ISD (all the mobile and landline operators) service providers. These submarine cables terminate at cable landing stations which are operated and managed by Tata, Bharti, Reliance Communication and BSNL.
It is expected that the review will result in lower charges in the next two months and will in sync with ISD tariff of other Asian countries.
This charge constitutes a major chunk of the ISD call rates and therefore any reduction in landing charges will bring down the international call rates further.
While ISD rates have come down for countries with major expatriate Indian population like USA, Canada, UK and Gulf to as low as Rs 3 per minute (at times even lower than that), charges to other countries remain very high which goes up to Rs 10 per minute. Even Nepal which is a neighbour the call rates are more than Rs 9 per minute.