Airtel defends move to charge for Net telephony services

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on December 26, 2014

Airtel on Friday said it has decided to charge separately for internet telephony services because it has to recover the large sums invested into rolling out network.

The telecom operator said it will, however, introduce the new tariff plan in phases after informing subscribers.

“Over the last 20 years, we have invested over ₹140,000 crore in rolling out telecommunication services in every nook and corner of the country. In addition, we have paid over ₹50,000 crore in terms of government levies in just five years. We, therefore, believe Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services in their current form are not tenable for us as a business. As a result, we will charge separately for VoIP services,” the company said in a statement.

Airtel’s move is being seen as a counter to Net telephony players such as Skype as they were eating into the telecom operator’s voice telephony revenues. However, this has raised concerns over network neutrality issues. The IT Ministry on Thursday said it will look into Airtel’s new tariff plan.

VoIP data packs

Under the plan, Airtel is offering VoIP specific data packs that will soon be launched. For prepaid users, the VoIP exclusive pack will be priced at ₹75 for 75MB with a validity of 28 days.

This will allow customers to make between 200 and 250 minutes of calling. Similarly, VoIP plans will soon be launched for post-paid customers. There would be no other charges in respective of VoIP calls.

“The VoIP update is not applicable with immediate effect. This change will be implemented in a phased manner over the next few weeks. In all cases, our customers will proactively be informed about these VoIP charges in advance,” the statement added.

Published on December 26, 2014
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