Bharti Airtel To Charge For VoIP Calls Over 2G And 3G In India

By 08:56 Thu, 22 Jul 2021 Comments

India's leading cellphone carrier (and second-largest Asia Pacific carrier) will now be charging for voice calls made over its 2G or 3G network. This basically includes calls made using services such as Skype, Viber, and Google Hangouts, among others. The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) data will be charged separately and won't be part of your existing data pack.

Although there was no official announcement, the change in policy appears as a sneaky fine print on the company website that states "All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) (Both incoming/ Outgoing). Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 Kilo Bytes (KB) (3G service) and 10p / 10 Kilo Bytes (KB) (2G service)."

The timing for this change in policy isn't just random. WhatsApp is about to introduce voice calling feature very shortly. With WhatsApp already having replaced SMS in India almost entirely, carriers are afraid Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will soon replace regular calling, turning them into dumb data pipes.

This go is against the principles of Net Neutrality, which states all data should be treated equally. It remains to be seen if other carriers in India will join Airtel in this move, and what the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has to say about this.




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