Friday, September 05, 2008

Ease norms for internet calls, Trai tells govt

Prices of domestic long-distance calls are expected to halve to around 50 paise a minute and those for international calls fall by a fifth if the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to permit internet service providers (ISPs) to offer unrestricted internet telephony are cleared by the government.

Allowing ISPs to extend their internet telephony operations will effectively create an alternative domestic telephone network and has been criticised by mobile service providers as being unfair.

Two years ago, the government permitted telecom licensees to offer unrestricted internet telephony as part of their licence conditions. None of the mobile operators has done so yet, principally because the service would drive down prices and impact average revenue per user, which is already among the lowest in the world.

ISPs are currently allowed to offer Net calls but subject to certain restrictions such as between two personal computers, one in India and the other anywhere in the world; between a subscriber with a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phone in India and a subscriber with a similar device in any country; and also between a PC in India and a fixed or mobile number in another country.

If the new policy is accepted, consumers will be able to call through the Net directly to fixed line and mobile numbers across the country and vice-versa. They can do so either through the PC or through a VOIP phone or from a landline fitted with an additional device.

Ease norms for internet calls, Trai tells govt
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