Local WhatsApp, Viber, Skype Calls May No Longer Be Free
According to the latest reports, cross-platform mobile messaging applications like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber may no longer be able to offer free domestic calls through voice over internet protocol (VoIP.) The proposal has apparently been made by the committee in regards to the Net Neutrality debate. However, international calls and instant messaging through this service will remain free as usual.
The committee has further stated that the calls made through these apps are almost six times cheaper than other mobile networks. As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, a one-minute voice call on the mobile phone costs 50 paise whereas the charge of a VoIP call is just 4 paise. Also, Mobile calls have the edge when it comes to call quality.
By providing free international calls but chargeable domestic calls, the government has, in a way, safeguarded the interests of the telecom industry.
The decision taken by the committee will not only ensure a fair level playing field in the telecom industry but also aid the expansion of applications by new tech firms and startups.
The committee led by A.K. Bhargava also discussed about the cyber threat, cyber security and national security as most of the over-the-top players have their servers outside the country. Quoting Facebook, the panel said that Internet.org users had free access for a few websites till April 2015.