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Deeper analysis of VoIP

IP Termination is just a myth

Posted by tggokul on August 28, 2008

There seems be a lot of hype going around of late about how IP Termination is about to get legal in India. I had to wake up from my slumber and respond to this in my blog. Let me make myself clear. I am not brushing this announcement because I am not convinced about this, but to temper expectations. I heard people saying things like there are no more restrictions to terminate calls originated on IP to PSTN lines and I want to say how far from the truth we are.

My first reaction to this announcement was cynicism since TRAI had recommended this 3 years ago as well and the telecom operators convinced DoT to reject TRAI’s suggestion.This is a similar recommendation that has again been placed before DoT.

What the news clippings suggest is the rosy picture. What they don’t say is that all the Telecom operators have already filed a lawsuit that will prevent this from becoming a law. The reason is simple. These Telecom providers have paid 1650 crores each to get these licenses and the new Internet Service providers are paying 0. What the telecom operators are asking for is for a leveling field. Which means the following, if the new ISPs want to play this game they have to pay the same amount for the licenses or if DoT wants to go ahead and implement this TRAI recommendation, they would need to give these licenses to the existing operators. I know for sure Airtel is atleast ready to do this.

Sadly to say, there will not be any impact whatsoever in the way we communicate in the near future. And even in the distant future what I see is, IP calls landing on the PSTN would be permitted, only if the current telecom providers (namely Airtel, Reliance) are also the ISPs. That is how I see it.

So if somebody says that all is well in this world of “Walled garden” ask them to wake up and smell the coffee. But I have hope that this might happen and I have stated the reason in one of my earlier post as well. This can become a reality only when the players feel that they are playing the same field and ADC has to go for that.

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8 Responses to “IP Termination is just a myth”

  1. Aswath said

    I agree with you that TRAI has only made a recommendation and that DoT is long way from making it so. Some of the reports I have read clearly stated this; they have also added that previously DoT had rejected some of TRAI’s recommendations. But I did not know that TRAI had made the same recommendation three years ago. In my recollection their recommendation was that PC-to-PC, PC-to-foreign PSTN are unrestricted and PC-to-Indian PSTN must terminate at International gateways. This they repeat in the background portion of the current report and let me add that they state that DoT had approved these recommendations. This is the reason I continue to claim that VoIP is not illegal in India, even though almost everybody in India seem to claim otherwise.

  2. tggokul said

    Aswath,

    You are absolutely right. PC to PC calling and PC to International calling is legal. Anybody saying otherwise probably do not understand the difference. VoIP is not illegal. IP calls terminating on Indian PSTN is illegal.

    Gokul

  3. Aswath said

    Gokul:

    Please bear with me while I make a pedantic correction: Terminating to Indian PSTN is NOT illegal. One either bring the traffic to International gateways with the usual settlement charges or you need proper license. (I need a license to drive a car; we don’t say that it is illegal to drive a car). In either case, you may not be able to play the arbitrage game. That is the point. Most VoIP proponents as they deride traditional telephony really want to play the arbitrage game and not interesting features and services. Hence my bemoaning.

  4. anonymous said

    Gokul/Aswath

    Is it possible or has anyone setup a VoIP Service Provider business in India?
    IS there any company in the business of SIP Trunking?

    Regards,

  5. tggokul said

    Hi Anonymous,

    There are VoIP Service Providers but they provide international termintations.

    As for SIP Trunking, I believe the existing telecom providers have it internally, but they do not provide it as a service to enterprises.

    Gokul

  6. tsriniv said

    Hi Gokul,

    On Sept 3, 2008, you stated the following:

    “As for SIP Trunking, I believe the existing telecom providers have it internally, but they do not provide it as a service to enterprises.”

    Can you name an Operator that will run my IP PBX and application to support SIP Trunking internally and offer a service that I can define on a revenue share basis?

    Thanks,
    Thiru

  7. tggokul said

    Hi Thiru,

    Like I had mentioned, I don’t believe that there is an operator who provides this service at this time.

    Gokul

  8. Voipkul said

    Well said but the operator are provide some extra facility like maintaining your connections, hardware and software requirements etc. so the people who wants this facility and they have no time for this extra stuffs then that time its really needed.

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