The good times are going to be over soon due to the fact that Airtel will charge free calls provided by Skype / Viber etc. The cost-effective way of talking relentlessly on phone with your loved ones or making inter-continental voice / video calls to contact business partners by subscribing to an internet pack only and then using VoIP software like Skype , Viber, Line etc is soon coming to an end for Airtel prepaid users. From the advent of 2015, Airtel is likely to charge a separate fee for those who will use VOIP calls via Airtel mobile internet from their prepaid number. That means if you buy an internet pack from Airtel, you are allowed to utilize the sanctioned usage volume for the purpose of browsing only and will exclude Voice over IP services (VoIP). No more free calls on Skype or viber or from any such similar application. VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 KB ( 3G service) and 10p / 10 KB (2G service). An Airtel spokesperson said that the company will soon launch separate packs for VoIP connectivity. We can expect to see a similar move by Vodafone, Idea and the other competitors. Due to this we can see the commencement of discrimination of data usage and thus disrespecting the very principle of NET NEUTRALITY .
This move is going to do a huge revenue boost for the telcos. The SMS / MMS earnings of telecom companies has drastically fallen already after the popularity of Whatsapp which has a strong userbase in India. This policy may have emerged after whatsapp’s announcement of providing free voice call facility which may result in huge decline in voice call profits of the telcos.
Let us see how the consumers react to this policy of the India’s largest telecommunications carrier by subscribers. We can already see some reactions in popular facebook groups asking for writing a letter to DoT requesting to reject the initiation of this malpractice.