The government has amended norms to allow full fledged internet telephony by telecom operators which will enable calls from app to app of licenced service providers as well as on phone numbers. The new amendment allows only authorised licenced holder to provide full-fledged internet telephony and not over-the-top players like WhatsApp, Google Duo etc that allow only app to app calling.
“With reference to the internet telephony services envisaged in the licences it is clarified that the said service is untethered from the underlying access network. Hence internet telephony service can be provided by access service provider to the customers using internet service of the other service providers,” a note from the Department of Telecom issued today said.
The new rule thus allows apps from licenced telecom operators to make calls using data or wifi network of other service providers as well. The calls made from these apps will be required to pay termination charges as applicable on normal phone calls. Termination charge is payable to the local operator on whose network the call terminates.
Trai has fixed Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) for telcos in the country at 6 paise per minute, and will be free from 2020 onwards. Besides, the service provider will be required to comply with all the interception and monitoring-related requirements as per amended rules.
Any subscriber on international roaming will be able to call any number in the country using the app. The call from international destination even from the app, however, will be required to pay international termination charge. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has fixed international termination charge at 30 paise per minute.