1. Why Airtel’s VoIP data plans make little sense

Why Airtel’s VoIP data plans make little sense

All Indians who thought they could download an app and reduce their prepaid telephone bills by making VOIP calls have a rude call back to reality from Airtel.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: December 27, 2014 9:43 AM
Airtel, Airtel VoIP charge, Airtel Skype, Airtel data

Airtel announced new VoIP exclusive packs at Rs 75 for 75MB with a validity of 28 day. (AP)

All Indians who thought they could download an app and reduce their prepaid telephone bills by making VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calls, have a rude call back to reality from Bharti Airtel. The service provider’s move to charge more than what it does for regular Internet usage for data-based calls is sure to spur others to follow suit.

(Also read: Airtel to charge for using VoIP services Skype, Line, Viber)

Despite the debate over net neutrality, the fact is that not many countries have differential rates for VOIP and regular data services. At least, not so far.

However, it remains to be seen what kind of money this brings in for Indian service providers, if it does not put off people enough to reduce their data consumption altogether. Indian customers, the shrewd lot they are, don’t use much of paid data for services like Skype and Viber.

They would rather pay for coffee and get some free Wi-Fi than switch on the data on their smartphone. But there is a larger story here. While, on one end, Indian service providers woo customers to join the world wide web, showing them the bait of cheap data and even free internet, on the other, they are increasing the cost of accessing the net for those already hooked. India might have one of the cheapest internet rates in the world, but let us not keep believing that it will stay so for much longer.

There is a lot of money to be made in data, and that is one of the real reason why there is a push towards cheaper smartphones. At one point or the other, a smartphone-user is sure to end up being a data hogger, and that is when the companies will tighten their grip. In a market as big as India, even half the smartphone users switching on their data is big money.

While internet might be literally free for many entry level users now, let’s not think of this bait as a free meal.

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  1. R
    R
    Dec 27, 2014 at 11:29 am
    One buys 3G service from Airtel and ends up getting horribly slow speed 2G service. When one makes a call on Airtel, the called party hangs up but the caller does not disconnect Airtel keeps on charging. I have been charged Rs. 150 and above for one minute local calls this way. No remedy. Now they will charge for providing no service at all. Typical petty shopkeeper mentality of looting the customer.
    Reply
    1. R
      Roha
      Dec 27, 2014 at 11:03 am
      Air tel provides Chinese devices for it internet service which make its unfaithful as Chinese may be monitoring the internet use in term of business trends which could be harmful for India .Air te need to be careful and explain its position for its chines devices & possible use of chines servers or facilities.
      Reply
      1. R
        Roha
        Dec 27, 2014 at 11:03 am
        Air tel provides Chinese devices for it internet service which make its unfaithful as Chinese may be monitoring the internet use in term of business trends which could be harmful for India .Air te need to be careful and explain its position for its chines devices & possible use of chines servers or facilities.
        Reply
        1. S
          ST, Mumbai
          Dec 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm
          And u still continue with Airtel?!!! One option would be to port your Airtel number to another service provider. If you have a dual SIM fone get a new SIM from another service provider (Idea, Voda, RCom, Aircel, etc.) and check it out.
          Reply

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