Exclusive: Airtel starts charging for VoIP data on 2G and 3G, calls on Viber and Skype not to be covered by data packs

This Christmas may not be much of a delight for Airtel subscribers. In an unprecedented move, Bharti Airtel has started charging standard data rates for VoIP data usage on all Internet data packs and plans. As per the new data policy

All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude VoIP (Both incoming/ Outgoing). VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 KB (3G service) and 10p / 10 KB (2G service).
airtel-new-data-policy

airtel-logoWhat is VoIP data?
In simple terms Voice over IP (VoIP) is voice data you sent across the internet. All internet based voice/video calling applications like Skype, Viber, Line and Google hangout uses VoIP for voice communication on internet. These applications provide free calling between its users irrespective of their location as it uses only internet for communication.
What this would mean is that next time you use Skype/Viber to call someone you will be charged standard data rate even when you have 2G/3G data packs active. This will be a great blow to Airtel subscriber who use VoIP applications like Skype to talk to loved ones abroad and within the country.
Operators Vs OTT
Recently TRAI had squashed a proposal to charge Over-the-Top players like the Whatsapp and Viber to pay connectivity charges to telecom companies. TRAI was of the opinion that revenue drop of the operators can be made up with the increase in the mobile data usage. But operators were of the stand that consumers are paying just for the Internet packages and not for the calls and messages.

What happens to Net Neutrality: 

When the rest of the world is debating Net Neutrality plans of Obama and how he wishes free and open internet for everyone, Airtel decided to go against it and break the Net Neutrality principle. It silently decided to apply variable charges to the VoIP calls to makeup for its lost revenue.

Also read : TRAI to examine Airtel and Uninor’s deal with Facebook and WhatsApp

We expect other operators including Vodafone and Idea to follow the same path. We feel this move as a first step towards charging Over-the-Top players which is carving out operators voice and messaging revenue.

Update : AIrtel has launched VoIP calling pack it will cost Rs 75 for 75MB with 28 days validity

Please let us know by comments how you will respond to this move by Airtel?

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263 Comments on "Exclusive: Airtel starts charging for VoIP data on 2G and 3G, calls on Viber and Skype not to be covered by data packs"

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[…] reported by Telecom Talk, Airtel has begun by charging consumers differently for using the mobile Internet for services such […]

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[…] Source: Telecomtalk […]

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[…] without discrimination in terms of speed, quality and access. But when telecom operators decide to differentially charge certain services (eg. voice-over applications like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber) on the pretext of creating a […]

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[…] to introduce differential pricing based on type of mobile Internet usage. Initially reported by Telecom Talk, Airtel had begun by charging consumers differently for using the mobile Internet for services such […]

Indian slave
Indian slave
February 20, 2015 10:24 pm 10:24 PM
way to go airtel. i hav already switched so i don’t hav a problem with this hilarity. and i honestly i pray you should screw your customers further. then only the sheeple will wake up and retaliate FOOLS PLEASE TAKE NOTE :- WITH 250 Kbps the actual speed will be 250 divided by 8. for the sake of ease, lets divide it by 10. 25 KBps. actual speed. see that b is written B in some places? small b is kilobit per second and big B is kilobyte per second. the mobile companies or any Internet service providers count the… Read more »
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[…] you will still be charged extra for making calls via Skype or Viber. This change in policy was first spotted by TelecomTalk. Update: An Airtel spokesperson replied to our query saying, “We have made some revisions in the […]

Sudhakar
Sudhakar
February 12, 2015 8:09 am 8:09 AM

One question for everyone here :

Can anyone really use 1 GB of 2G data within 30 days despite of getting shameless speed?.

Ashish
Ashish
April 15, 2015 9:00 am 9:00 AM
You think so you could I live in Delhi here the speed is quite OK in Vodafone but yes you could use 1gb if the weather is dry but if there would be raining or in rainy season the speed in 2g goes less than 20kbps over in browsing and forget about downloading. But if you are an internet addict then switch to mtnl in Delhi The 3G Internet in Delhi costs for 76 for a GB for 7 days. But the problem is you have to go to mtnl office to get a sim card and it takes about… Read more »
avi
avi
February 10, 2015 11:50 am 11:50 AM

Airtel let people live happily, you have an option, why don’t you people increase the price if you cannot keep up, why you just want to bring new policy to trouble customer, those companies can can still give cheap affordable internet let them do, voip is todays need so let us enjoy, why do you wish to restrict very thing.

John
John
February 6, 2015 10:30 pm 10:30 PM

Thanks Airtel I completed my MNP to Reliance(works fine in ma City????)

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[…] has been in the middle of quite a lot of controversy since it announced it plans on charging for VoIP services. But it took back the move after that and resumed providing regular services after that. Now the […]

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