India's second largest operator Vodafone Wednesday expressed dismay at the telecom regulator's decision to cut mobile call connect charges to six paise per minute, and termed the move as a "retrograde" measure.
"This is yet another retrograde regulatory measure that, unless mitigated, will have serious consequences for investment in rural coverage, undermining the government's vision of Digital India," Vodafone said in a statement.
Slamming the latest decision of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Vodafone said the Indian telecom industry was already experiencing the "greatest period of financial stress in its history".
"We are disappointed with this decision and are now considering our options in response to it," the company said but did not specify its options.
Vodafone's comments come in response to telecom regulator on Tuesday announcing cut in the mobile call connection charges to six paise a minute, and a complete phasing out of these rates from January 1, 2020, a move that will benefit newcomer Reliance Jio and deal a blow to the incumbent players.
Mobile companies currently charge 14 paise a minute for allowing a domestic call from a rival operator to terminate on their network. This charge, called Interconnection Usage Charges or IUC, will be brought down to six paise per minute from October 1, 2017, TRAI has said.
Earlier Tuesday, cellular industry association COAI termed the move "disastrous", and said that most of its members will take legal recourse on the issue, to protect their financial interests.