TRAI fixes ring timings for mobiles, landlines

Users will have 30 seconds to answer a call

In a couple of weeks from now, mobile phone users will get 30 seconds to answer or reject a call, before it is considered a missed call.

In a new regulation, the Telecom Authority of India (TRAI), has fixed the ring time for calls made to mobiles at 30 seconds, and those made to landlines at 60 seconds. The notification is likely to impact interconnect usage charges between operators.

The new rules, which will come into effect after 15 days, bring to an end a face-off between two major operators — Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel — over the issue. Last month, Bharti Airtel had cut the ringing time for calls made by its subscribers to 25 seconds from about 45 seconds, in retaliation to a similar move by rival Reliance Jio.

“…Authority felt that appropriate value of duration of alert is to be 30 seconds for Cellular Mobile Telephone Service and 60 seconds for Basic Telephone Service,” the TRAI notification said.

As per specifications by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the timer value for international calls or circuits is in the range of 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes but there is no prescribed value for the timer for domestic calls.

While this is a matter which directly impacts the experience of a mobile phone user, the reduction in ringing time also affects the revenue of the operator. The operators pay each other an interconnection charge (currently 6 paise/min). The charge is paid by the operator whose customers make a call to the operator whose subscribers receive a call. In case of a shorter ringing time, a user may miss the call and may need to call the other user back. Hence, making the operator with a ‘shorter ringing time’ gain in interconnection charges.

The TRAI pointed out that during consultations, all stakeholder barring telecom service providers, said appropriate ringing value should not be less than 30 seconds. It added that most stakeholders were of the view that the decrease in timer value would yield only marginal benefits due to better network utilisation.