New Delhi, Aug 18: In a move that will stiffen competition in the domestic long distance segment and a reduction in STD tariffs, telecom regulator TRAI on Monday, Aug 18 allowed ISPs to offer unrestricted internet telephony services. ''It is envisaged that customers will ultimately benefit from cost effective and innovative internet telephony service.
These recommendations will put Indian telecom sector in tune with global trends. The grey market tendencies shall be curtailed,'' Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a statement. As per the recommendations, the STD service providers would be connected to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through public internet for the purpose and the two service providers would have mutual agreement for the same.
The move will permit calls from personal computers to fixed line and mobile phones. Currently, a voice call is allowed between computers but not from a mobile or a fixed phone.
This is expected to open huge channels of revenues for the ISP.
Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical arm of Department of Telecom, will work out the number plan for the ISPs to enable them to offer telephone services.
''Telephone numbers from identified blocks shall be allocated to ISPs, Unified Access Service Providers, Basic Service Providers and Cellular Mobile Service Providers for internet telephony,'' it added.
With a view to make internet telephony secure, it said, all ISPs interested to provide unrestricted internet telephony would install ''lawful interception'' equipments.
TRAI stressed that it has given due importance to ensure the level playing field among various service providers, inter-connection mechanism, inter-connect usage charges (IUC), and other important issues such as numbering, lawful interception, emergency number dialing, inter-operability and quality of service etc.
However, emergency number dialing has not been mandated to ISPs.
Besides, TRAI has not, at this point, mandated quality of service (QoS) norms for unrestricted Internet telephony.