Finally, it is possible. Users would be now able to make calls to any mobile or landline number with the usage of home, office or public Wi-Fi, even if the signal on the smartphone is unavailable. For this, the entire credit goes to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI), giving the nod of approval to internet telephony.
Even if being opposed by the other telecom companies, this would be definitely beneficial for making voice calls even if with the unavailability mobile signals in certain areas or if the conventional network is patchy, often leading to poor and disturbed call quality.
TRAI, as per the report on ‘Recommendations on a Regulatory framework for Internet Telephony’, which have been submitted to the telecom ministry, stated that “The authority is of the view that as per the present licensing framework, internet telephony service can be provided independent of the internet access service. In other words, the internet telephony service is un-tethered from the underlying access (or mobile) network”.
Also, TRAI is in complete favor of internet calling, describing it as a useful and cost-effective alternative for making voice calls and further added that, “This will increase the call success rate particularly in indoor poor coverage areas where public internet may be available but signal of a particular telecom company is not available”.
The other part of the story also states that the older telecom honchos opposing this measure. Their main body, COAI, when discussed by the regulator, feared that it would impact their voice revenues. According to them, that this internet telephony, when provided over the public network, would, “entail huge losses to operators who are providing conventional voice services as there will be a shift of voice traffic… to public internet”.
They raised their concern over the fact that with the rapid increased of smartphones and tablets, the shift in SMS and voice traffic to app-based services has already started affecting their revenues, and this move will further add to the pressure.
However, TRAI disagrees to this, where Arvind Kumar, an adviser at TRAI stated that “The consumer will have more choice in making calls, and seamless voice connectivity can be accessed by riding over any Wi-Fi network even when mobile signal is not adequate, or is missing”.
How does it work?
Companies might as well enable calls through internet telephony, by providing an option, similar to an app which would allow subscribers to use Wi-Fi before making any calls to any of the contacts. Reliance Jio is believed to be one of the pioneers in providing such a framework.
Further, explaining this entire process of Internet telephony, a TRAI official explained that, “For example, an Airtel customer may decide to use Wi-Fi of MTNL or BSNL when he wants to make a call. Presently, there is no provision for this. But through an internet telephony player, he will now be provided such a facility through an app which he may download on his smartphone and use whenever required. The number of the caller will be same as his original number”.
In conclusion, the regulator has also suggested, that, the necessary clarification might as well be issued by the telecom ministry regarding internet telephony service, further adding that “If department of telecom has a different understanding, Trai recommends that it may issue amendment to access service licences so that internet telephony service is untethered from the underlying access network.”