Bharti Airtel on Monday rolled back its decision to charge a higher rate for making voice over Internet calls using its network. The move follows after FE reported on December 27 that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will shortly come out with a consultation paper to take a view whether Over the Top Players should be brought under some sort of regulation or not.
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, Airtel said in a statement.
“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,” said the company.
The move to charge a higher rate for VoIP calls had received a lot of flak in the social media.
The Trai chairman Rahul Khullar had told FE that while the move was against net neutrality it was not illegal as currently there’s no policy or regulatory framework in the country which mandates operators to adhere to net neutrality. He said that Trai is in the process of coming out with a consultation paper to debate whether net neutrality should be maintained and OTT players are also regulated as mobile operators are.