Months after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued recommendations to Department of Telecom (DoT) to open Internet telephony in India across the devices, the government on Tuesday approved the proposal.
It means that callers will not need a sim to make calls to other mobile and landline numbers. With Internet telephony, telecom service providers will be able to provide mobile numbers that don’t require SIM cards and gets activated by an internet telephony app.
Thus, only the calling party will need a data connection while it will not be mandatory for the receiver to have a data connection. A voice on an Internet line goes as a data packet and occupies very little bandwidth.
The new service will give more options to consumers, especially in areas where quality of service is an issue.
The framework for Internet telephony (interconnect charges) will be same as that of regular mobile and landline calls.
Currently, Internet telephony exists in India but in a very limited manner. One does necessarily need a SIM card to use the service. Users can make an app to app calls but not from app to landline or app to mobile as telecom operators and app companies don’t have interconnected agreements.
Meanwhile, app-to-app calls within India are possible only between the same app.
The new telephony service will also disrupt OTT (over the top) applications such as WhatsApp and Skype and will have to sign interconnect agreements with telecom service providers.
Besides offering options to consumers, the apps will also be obliged to pay the license fee to the government and interconnect charges to the telecom service providers.
OTTs like Whatsapp and Skype, providing local and national calls to other Whatsapp and Skype users, are not licensed and do not pay any charges — neither to the telecom services provider nor to the government.
The development was first reported by the TOI.