While Indian telecom space is boiling over Net Neutrality, Uninor in a controversial move has removed VOIP calling on its social data packs. It social data packs which offer Facebook and WhatsApp access cannot be used for VOIP calling on these application platforms.
As per the update on Uninor website, Voice-over-IP feature (VOIP) of Facebook & Whatsapp will not be part of social data packs offerings. However, VOIP calls can be made on normal data packs without paying any extra charges. Uninor currently offers 5 social data packs including unlimited Facebook & Whatsapp packs.
Net Neutrality at Stake
Airtel came under fire last Christmas when Telecomtalk exposed Airtel move of charging extra for VOIP calls made using its data packs. Airtel was forced to withdraw the plan within few days after facing heavy backlash on social media. This has triggered net neutrality campaigns in India. Recently TRAI has received over 1 million emails supporting Net Neutrality in the country and the government is yet to purpose a regulation on Net Neutrality.
WhatsApp has recently introduced voice calling feature on its platform in a big blow to telecom operators. Now WhatsApp users can make voice calls without paying any extra charges. Uninor was offering unlimited WhatsApp and Facebook on its social data packs for just Rs 15/month. By this moves Uninor want its subscribers to use social data packs only for message communications and protect its voice revenues. It’s unclear at this point whether Uninor will block VOIP calls on social data packs or charge at base tariff.
Like Airtel, Uninor also will face the wrath of Net Neutrality activist in the country. We need to wait and see whether Uninor will be forced to roll back its plans to exclude VOIP calls on its social data packs.
Do share your view Uninor moves to exclude VOIP calls and violating Net Neutrality. Keep reading TT for more updates.
An IT professional who has got great passion for telecom. Has been closely watching Indian telecom space since 2009.