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Airtel announces VoIP exclusive pack of 75MB for Rs 75 as government looks to review its policy

Airtel, the largest telecom operator in India has announced a special data plan for the use of VoIP services on its network. The company announced today a ‘VoIP exclusive’ pack consisting of 75MB

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Airtel, the largest telecom operator in India has announced a special data plan for the use of VoIP services on its network. The company announced today a ‘VoIP exclusive’ pack consisting of 75MB of data for Rs 75 with a validity of 28 days. The announcement comes two days after the telecom operator quietly started charging subscribers with premium rates for using Skype, Viber and other VoIP services regardless of the data plan users were subscribed to.

The operator’s move to charge users for using popular services like Skype, Viber, and other VoIP services has had been widely criticized by people from all across the country. Earlier this morning, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the sidelines of ‘Good Governance Day’ event said the government would be reviewing Airtel’s revised policies. “We will look into it. Government will come back with [a] structured response.”

For those who haven’t subscribed to the ‘VoIP exclusive’ pack, they will have to pay Rs 10,000 per GB on 2G network (at 10p/10KB) and up to Rs 4,000 per GB on 3G (at 4p/10KB) network to a user. While the new VoIP plan does reduce the cost, it is still a hefty tariff charge. The company also announced that users who purchased the data plans before December 24, 2014 will be entitled to use all services opted-for till their packs are consumed or expire. After which, the new terms and conditions on VoIP will come in effect.

“Our Customers can enjoy a superior VoIP calling experience on Airtel’s network by choosing from a range of new VoIP specific data packs that will soon be launched. The Rs 75 package will allow customers to make between 200 and 250 minutes of calling. There would be no other charges in respective of VoIP calls.

VoIP services in their current form are not tenable for us as a business. As a result, we will charge separately for VoIP services. However, in line with our philosophy of putting our customers above all else – we are committed to making VoIP services extremely affordable and attractive by ensuring adequate minutes for a very small charge on VoIP,” Airtel said in a statement.

Over the last twenty years, we have invested over Rs. 140, 000 crores in rolling out telecommunications services in every nook and corner of the country. In addition, we have paid over Rs. 50, 000 crore in terms of government levies in just 5 years. Going forward, we are committed to rolling out data networks across the country. In order to ensure this, our business must be viable and sustainable. Our voice services that are enjoyed by every one of our customers provides us the capacity to continuously invest in and upgrade our networks on an ongoing basis. We, therefore, believe that VoIP services in their current form are not tenable for us as a business. As a result, we will charge separately for VoIP services.

However, in line with our philosophy of putting our customers above all else – we are committed to making VoIP services extremely affordable and attractive by ensuring adequate minutes for a very small charge on VoIP.

As a result, in line with the recent announcement of our VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) pack, Airtel would like to clarify the following:

  • Our Customers can enjoy a superior VoIP calling experience on Airtel’s network by choosing from a range of new VoIP specific data packs that will soon be launched. For prepaid users, the VoIP exclusive pack will be priced at Rs. 75 for 75MB with a validity of 28 days. This will allow customers to make between 200 and 250 minutes of calling. Similarly, affordable VoIP plans will soon be launched for postpaid customers. There would be no other charges in respective of VoIP calls.

  • The VoIP update is not applicable with immediate effect. This change will be implemented in a phased manner over the next few weeks. In all cases, our customers will proactively be informed about these VoIP charges in advance through the company’s standard communication channels like SMS, USSD pop-up, email etc.

  • Prepaid customers who have purchased data plans before 24th December 2014 are entitled to use all services opted-for till their packs are consumed or expire, following which, the new terms & conditions on VoIP usage will apply.

  • Published Date: December 26, 2014 7:49 PM IST
  • Updated Date: December 26, 2014 9:52 PM IST