India and VoIP
Due to advancements in broadband, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has provided a clearer and more reliable connection than standard telephone service.
This is particularly true for overseas phone calls.
VoIP service providers can competitively offer the same features (call waiting, telephone conference calling, etc.) as standard analog telephone providers, but at a greatly reduced rate.
VoIP Calls to India
Within India you may connect to the person you want to talk to using VoIP technology in any of three ways:
1) PC2PC (from your PC through to their PC),
2) using a Softclient-based service such as MSN, Yahoo, etc.
3) through an India based VoIP provider such as:
- Sify’s way2talk,
- Tata Indicom,
4) by using a broadband connection and VoIP adapter or ATA.
VoIP Providers in India
India currently allows IP telephony for international and SIP to SIP calls.
Although there are other private operators that have licenses to expand into voice over IP technology, the state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) remains the primary provider of VoIP service.
Other licensed operators are cautious about impacting the volume of standard domestic calling by offering cheaper domestic call rates via the Internet.
Additionally, any company contemplating providing unlimited calling plans is subject to high termination charges.
This alone discourages companies from offering unlimited VoIP calling.
Another deterrent from operators becoming too involved in Internet telephony offerings is the cost involved in the mandatory monitoring system all Indian VoIP providers are required to implement for calls routed through the LI (Lawful Interception) technology.
Although the voice transmission passes from one person to the other as data packets, making it difficult for Indian agencies to monitor the calls, MTNL is initiating the measure by commissioning the LI system.
MTNL competitor Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is also launching voice-over IP services through its network.
Other competitors inside and outside the country have entered India’s VoIP market.
India-based Internet phone provider Worldphone has begun offering unlimited VoIP plans (to the US, Canada, UK, and Australia) with a bank of incoming countries, under regulation of the Department of Telecommunications.
All charges include taxes and free calls may not include mobile services for all countries. Worldphone.in is more expensive than MTNL’s plans, but it is no less a serious competitor.
Another competitor is Pennytel, an Australian provider, launching its untimed mobile calls to India (and other countries) plan in 2007-2008.
One advantage MTNL had over its competitors when it launched its service in Delhi is that its voice-over IP system does not require the customer to use a PC. This is significant since “PC penetration in India is quite low”.
Vonage - A Significant Competitor
Vonnage is an American-based company that desires to compete with MTNL and other providers for a share of India’s VoIP market. It is a leading broadband telephone provider offering “free unlimited landline calls to all cities and locations in more than 60 other countries,” including Canada, Puerto Rico, UK, Ireland, France, Spain, and Italy. Vonage also offers all desired features (call waiting, voice messaging, etc.). There is no question it should choose to expand into compatible India.
Not only is Vonage a leading US provider of broadband and VoIP phone service, it has an expansive footprint nationally and globally with attractive international plans suitable to many countries regardless of their particular regulations and levels of technology.
AZ - VoIP Providers