TRAI has dropped another bomb and this time it has recommended that calls made over the Internet be allowed to be received on telephones rather than just computers, a move that would increase competition in the fast-growing telecom market.
Current State of Internet Telephony:
Last year, DoT was mulling over a decision to block VoIP products like Skype/Yahoo/Gtalk/Net2Phone/Dialpad etc. for following reasons:
- Security : It’s difficult to crack down on calls made using VoIP.
- Perceived Loss of Revenue:
As per regulation, all licensed service providers have to pay 12.5% service tax and 6% of revenue share to the government. This 19% of tax is being bypassed by the illegal Internet service providers and that’s why ISPs are wary of all these VoIP tools (like Yahoo, Skype, GTalk etc) – source
As per 2007 data, these unlicensed companies provide 30 mn minutes of Internet telephony per month to corporates, call centres and BPOs in the country, resulting in huge loss of revenue.
Now that govt. has realized that it’s not possible to curb VoIP, TRAI sees a huge value in providing Internet Telephony:
There seems to be complete market failure as our subscribers are denied advanced value-added services in contrast to world scenario where such Internet-based services are very popular [ET]
Summary of TRAI’s recommendations:
- Termination of Internet telephony calls on PSTN/PLMN and vice-versa.
- National Long Distance (NLD) operators shall be permitted to connect to ISPs through public Internet (Internet cloud) for unrestricted Internet telephony.
- ISPs and NLD shall have mutual agreement for unrestricted Internet telephony.
- No change in existing IUC regime.
- TEC shall identify distinct number resources for Internet Telephony subscribers.
- Telephone numbers from identified blocks shall be allocated to ISPs, UASPs, BSOs & CMSPs for Internet telephony.
- Emergency number dialing is not mandated to ISPs.
- All ISPs interested to provide unrestricted Internet telephony shall install Lawful Interception equipment.
The discussion has just started and be prepared for another looong debate over this topic.
Download TRAI’s recommendation
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