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India untethers internet telephony but termination charges still apply

India’s Department of Telecom has issued a notification on Tuesday saying that internet telephony services are “untethered from the underlying access network”. This means that telcos can deploy apps that can call Indian numbers over an internet connection that they don’t have to control. As MediaNama reports, regulations on interconnect usage charges (IUC) and international calling are still in force, so telcos will still have to pay termination charges to telcos of call recipients. This notification implements one of the recommendations that telecoms regulator TRAI issued to the DoT in October last year. “This also allows for WiFi calling, where subscribers with newer handsets can make calls over WiFi without any separate VoIP service like WhatsApp calling or Skype. Telcos can also use wireless internet of other carriers to process calls when their own network is unable to reach a caller. While DoT’s notification makes life a little easier for telcos, VoIP apps that want to operate independently remain in limbo. Services like Skype and Viber usually don’t interact with regulated telephone networks, so they don’t have much uncertainty to worry about. However, apps like Nanu and Ringo worked by buying call minutes in bulk and charging rates that were much cheaper than telcos’ tariffs. In this two year regulatory process, those services have been left behind. Read more and DoT notification here

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

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