The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper on VoIP services, or internet telephony. TRAI said that internet telephony has now become similar to conventional telephony and these providers compete directly with existing technology used to make phone calls. It added, “Therefore, it eventually has to be decided what aspects of conventional telephony regulation should apply to internet telephony service. To encourage internet telephony services in the country, issues such as allocation of telephone numbers, interconnection, interconnection usage charges and access to emergency service need to be addressed urgently.” This paper is quite important considering the popularity of VoIP services such as WhatsApp and Skype in India.
The consultation paper also notes that Voice over IP lets network operators, service providers and consumers to make "significant savings, by reducing the underlying costs of a telephone call." It notes that VoIP uses network resources more efficiently than conventional services and reduces the costs of providing a call. This creates an opportunity for regulatory arbitrage that lets Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and consumers to reduce or avoid call charges. Stakeholders are asked to furnish comments by July 21, while counter-comments need to be submitted by August 4. These would be posted on TRAI’s website.