The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday issued a consultation paper on VoIP services or Internet Telephony. It is a broader and more holistic look at VoIP, and actually intends to hold telecom service providers accountable for quality of service on VoIP calls.
It paper seeks opinions on various matters ranging from additional entry fee, call termination charges to quality of service parameters. Some of the main issues include –what should be the additional entry fee, performance bank guarantee, and financial bank guarantee for internet service providers if they are also allowed to provide unrestricted internet telephony?; What should be the termination charge when call is terminating into internet telephony network?; and how to ensure that users of international internet telephony calls pay application international termination charges.
The paper also lays out the difference between Internet Telephony and Voice over IP. Voice transmissions over the public internet are categorized as Internet Telephony, and transmissions over managed networks is called VoIP. In this sense, Internet Telephony is VoIP, but not all VoIP is Internet Telephony. VoIP is cheaper than traditional networks when it comes to delivering a same or similar service, and this can actually help reduce bills for customers.
However, TRAI notes that telecom service providers might be reluctant to introduce VoIP technologies to consumers, because they already provide a similar service over traditional networks. These earn them profits at higher margins, which is why service providers might be hesitant to axe the branch they are sitting on.
The telecom watchdog requested comments by July 21 and counter comments by August 4.