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Bharti Airtel to Charge Extra for VoIP Calls

Bharti Airtel customers will now have to pay more -- Rs 10,000 per GB on 2G network for making calls on Skype, Viber or other voice calling apps, as the operator has decided to charge extra for VoIP service (voice calls over Internet).

Many Indians who have been making VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calls to stay in touch with their friends and family members are for free all these  years in for a shock after reports pointed out that now the services would be charged.

This is the first time in the country that any mobile operator is charging separately for VoIP service. Based on standard rates, usage of each GB of data for VoIP on 3G network will cost about Rs 4,000 and while the same on 2G netwrok will cost about Rs 10,000.

Bharti Airtel's motives are easy to understand. It is, after all, a phone company - and revenues from simple voice calls are threatened by VoIP applications.

The usage of short messaging services or SMS and the associated revenue have fallen sharply as WhatsApp's (the mobile app with voice messaging and text messaging service) popularity has increased . Under schemes, Airtel sells 1GB of 3G data for Rs 249 and 1GB of 2G internet for Rs 175.

This only means that in coming year internet and usage of data won’t be free. So chances are that many users would go for free Wi-Fi that the government is working on to make cities free.

Here are the key points of the impact of this decision:

- Airtel’s new change in data tariff plans result in an unfair increase in charges when using VoIP services such as Skype, Viber, and any other Web based voice calling apps.

- With their earlier data plan, a typical 5 minute Skype call would cost about 70 paise over Airtel’s mobile Internet. With the new plan, it jumps to Rs 11.20 on 3G and Rs 28 on 2G.

Meanwhile, people are criticizing Airtel on Twitter, here are some tweets:
While Bharti Airtel ’s move to hike voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service charges surprised most in the industry, sources say peers like Vodafone and Idea Cellular have been contemplating such a decision. Infact the companies sent a consultation paper to the Department of Telecom (DoT) on the same as VoIP services have been eating into their revenues and the companies are working around ways to reduce this impact.

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