Soon, users can call landline number or mobile number using popular internet applications like What’sApp, Viber, Skype. The inter ministerial panel of the government on Monday issued a clearance for interconnection agreement between internet service providers and telecom operators. The cost of these calls would be much lesser than regular calls as they are billed on the basis of the data used. Sector regulator Trai had already recommended the measure to allow inter-connect for voice over internet protocol (or VoIP) services, and this had been pending with the telecom ministry. Changes will be made to licence conditions to allow inter-connection of IP (internet protocol) networks.
Apart from being a consumer-friendly move, the decision to allow inter-connect agreements between ISPs and telecom operators will be a shot in the arm for Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, which will soon begin services across the country. Internet calling has gained substantially in traffic as data speeds get better and smartphones sales increase. While internet calling is still at an early stage in domestic calling, it is very popular for people who travel internationally. A major issue that now needs to be sorted out by Trai is to address the issue of termination charges that internet companies will need to pay to mobile operators for transferring their calls on their networks. Trai officials have indicated that they will set inter-connection charges for internet calls after the government allows amendments to the Unified Licence framework.