[Updated] Airtel will charge for VoIP Data usage, announces VoIP Pack
Update: After much criticism from its customers, Airtel has decided Not to Implement VoIP Packs. In its official statement Airtel said that,
In view of the news reports that a consultation paper will be issued shortly by TRAI on issues relating to services offered by OTT players including VOIP, we have decided not to implement our proposed launch of VoIP packs.
We have no doubt that as a result of the consultation process a balanced outcome would emerge that would not only protect the interests of all stakeholders and viability of this important sector but would also encourage much-needed investments in spectrum and roll out of data networks to fulfil the objective of digital India.
Most of us believe that Mobile Data Internet rates should go down, Airtel has something different in mind for its Mobile Subscribers. Airtel has become one of the first companies, if not the first, to violate the net neutrality and has started charging extra for VoIP calls (even on active 2G or 3G Data Pack) that are made via Mobile Internet Networks. With this Voice Calling on applications like Viber and Skype will now be chargeable.All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude VoIP (Both incoming/ Outgoing). VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 KB (3G service) and 10p / 10 KB (2G service).
For such usage, Airtle has announced special VoIP packs for its Pre-paid subscribers. The package will cost Rs. 75 for 28 days and will include 75MB of VoIP Data usage. It will fetch up to 200 to 250 minutes of calling. Other VoIP packs with different usage are expected to launch soon in a phased manner.
Airtel will start informing its customers regarding the changes via SMS, Pop-Ups, emails etc.