If you start getting too many missed calls, don’t think that your ringer volume was low and hence you could not hear the ringing tone. It is because operators have reduced the ringing time to 25 seconds from the earlier 45 seconds following a spat between the incumbents (Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea) and Reliance Jio.
The ringing time was 45 seconds but it was an accepted norm, not backed by any regulation by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). However, recently Reliance Jio reduced it to 20 seconds for calls coming on its network. This was noticed by the incumbents who protested and complained to the Trai.
The regulator held a meeting of all the operators to come to a consensus and all barring Jio agreed to 30 seconds of ringing time. Jio said that it would increase from 20 to 25 seconds.
As a result, now even Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have made the ringing duration to 25 seconds. On the face this fight about how long a phone rings or should ring sounds innocuous but behind this is the larger story about termination charges where Jio continues to be a net payer rather than a receiver because its network receives more calls than outgoing ones.
Termination charge is paid to the operator on whose network the call terminates by the originating network.
According to figures shared by Trai, Bharti’s incoming calls (from other networks) stands at 54.70% compared to 45.30% of outgoing calls. Jio’s incoming calls stand at 35.75% and outgoing at 64.25%, while for Vodafone Idea incoming calls are 59.30% and outgoing at 40.70%. Since termination charges are paid on the basis of outgoing calls, it can be seen that Jio has the lowest percentage of such calls so its outgo on termination will be the highest.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone allege that by unilaterally reducing the ring duration Jio was trying to correct the asymmetry in its favour. The logic being that if the phone automatically disconnects faster the consumer will call back and hence instead of paying a termination charge the company will receive it.
However, Jio counters such allegations. It maintains that the traffic asymmetry which makes it a net payer of termination charge is because Bharti and Vodafone have around 60% of 2G users who still need to pay for voice calls and therefore they give missed calls to Jio users who then call them back.
As the fight between the two sides carries on the Trai has come out with a consultation paper to decide what should be the ring duration but till then it is now going to be 25 seconds.