Info-tech

Now, pay local rates for international roaming

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 30, 2015

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BlackNGreen to launch app that allows calls made home from abroad at local rates



Calling home during a foreign trip can be expensive due to the high roaming tariffs.

Here comes an app that will enable subscribers to make calls while on international roaming at local call rates. A Chennai-based company BlackNGreen (BNG) is gearing up to launch the app – @home – in the next couple of months.

While WhatsApp and Viber allow app to app calling, @home allows mobile to app and app to mobile calling. It’s integrated with an operator and is a white-labelled product, with billing directly linked to the user’s account from the operator. There is no need of a credit card.

BNG, a value added services and telecom products start-up, was started by two entrepreneurs Rahul Gupta and Karthik Shankar in 2011. The company now has presence across 72 countries, and is gearing up to offer products in India.

“About 45 days back, we had started doing a pilot for the @home product with MTN South Africa and Airtel Africa, and we started the pilot a couple of days back in Ivory Coast. We are also doing pilots with Telenor Group (Grameenphone) in Bangladesh and several others across the globe,” Rahul Gupta, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of BNG, told BusinessLine.

“We will launch the services on the successful completion of the pilots,” Gupta said, adding that it could take a couple of months for the launch.

The services will also be launched in India simultaneously, with the company initiating early stage discussions with operators in India.

How it works

When a user is on international roaming, the @home app automatically detects a network with good data strength and directs the operator network to route all calls to the app. On the app, incoming calls are free, while home tariffs would be levied for outgoing calls.

The app will also help in “optimising” signals in areas with weak signals. “This will help in improving coverage, without the need of investing heavily on the network,” Gupta said.

Stating @home calls are not ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) services, he said these calls are made using operator networks. “This service will be launched jointly with the operators, and there is a lot of back-end integration with telecom operators,” he said, adding operators don’t have this technology to provide this service.

India is among the cheapest telecom market in the world, with call rates as low as 30 paise to 50 paise per minute for offnet calls under special offers, to ₹1.20 per minute for standard offnet calls.

“If it complies with TRAI regulations for use of international calling cards, this service shouldn’t be an issue,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said.

Published on December 30, 2015
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