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India takes step towards internet telephony, call charges to fall

India takes step towards internet telephony, call charges to fall
25 Oct 2017
  • Despite intense lobbying by telcos, the TRAI has finally paved the way for internet telephony in India by releasing its recommendations on the matter.
  • However, they will apply only to licensed telecom players and not calling apps like WhatsApp and Viber.
  • If the scheme goes through, it will mean a permanent drop in voice call rates for customers.
  • Here's all you need to know.

  • First of all, what is internet telephony?
  • Simply put, internet telephony lets you make calls to any number anywhere through the internet, even when your phone doesn't have network connection and irrespective of operator.
  • This means an Airtel customer can make calls using Vodafone's data network or Idea's public Wi-Fi. Your number would remain the same and be visible to the receiver.
  • Many players use an app to offer such services.

  • How the debate started in India
  • The issue made headlines when BSNL unveiled the Fixed Mobile Telephony service to let customers travelling abroad connect their landlines to mobiles and make calls without ISD charges.
  • Private operators alleged it bypassed norms, including Interconnect Usage Charges/IUC- a charge paid by an operator to another when its subscriber makes a call to the other.
  • Amid the furore, TRAI started a consultation in May'16.

  • What does the regulator have to say?
  • TRAI has several recommendations: such services will be independent of operators; subscribers will be assigned the same number for cellular and internet services; and quality of calls won't be monitored.
  • Such calls will attract normal IUC.
  • IP address will be a mandatory part of call records.
  • Calls from international roaming subscribers will be routed through 'International Long Distance Operators'. Termination charges will be payable.

  • What do telcos think about the suggestions?
    TRAI's suggestions differ from the stand of the COAI, which believes "internet telephony can only be provided by a licensee using its own access network". Several rules required more clarity, the industry said, including that of IUC. Rajan S Mathews, DG COAI, said they will consult stakeholders.

    How will it help customers and telcos?
  • Internet telephony would bring several benefits: current voice quality isn't satisfactory with frequent call drops.
  • For customers, calling rates would go further down, a still-ongoing process triggered by Jio's entry.
  • It'll help telcos shed some of their network burden: India has over a billion mobile subscribers. Moreover, spectrum is scarce and charges are high.
  • This might also mean providers will widen range of services.

  • But the road isn't very smooth
  • TRAI admits there are challenges: allocation of numbering resources, details of IUC, service quality and availability of emergency services are just some of them.
  • Besides, telcos (except Jio, which has supported the new policy) are expected put up a fight against something they believe would hit their revenues.
  • For now, the TRAI has sent its recommendations to the DoT, which will take a call.

  • This post first appeared on NewsBytes: Latest News, Breaking News India, Today News, Current News, please read the originial post: here

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    India takes step towards internet telephony, call charges to fall


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