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Dial-in numbers of video-meet apps could cost more than you think

The telecom operators have started alerting customers about the dial-in feature of online meeting applications like Zoom, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, etc, as using it will result in ISD or international call charges. The operators swung into action after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) directed them to inform customers about the ISD rates being charged for the dial-in feature of such apps. The regulator had earlier received several complaints from customers about bill shocks due to inadvertent use of dial-in numbers for the meeting apps.

The dial-in numbers shared by many of these meeting apps are usually international numbers or premium numbers and using it would imply application of ISD tariffs. But since many of the customers don’t know about it, they use the dial-in feature to join the meeting on such apps. However, later, the users are faced with bill shocks and many of aggrieved customers have complained about it.

Some time ago, the regulator had asked the telcos to alert the customers to check applicable charges for dialing such numbers as a large number of people have been using these conferencing platforms due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India, along with the rest of the world, is witnessing a massive surge in demand for video-conferencing solutions as work from home and virtual meetings have become the new normal.

The usage of apps like Zoom, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc, have grown immensely in the past few months. Also, the competition has intensified in the video-conferencing segment with the entry of JioMeet and Airtel BlueJeans.

The government also realised the importance of local video-conferencing apps and came out with a challenge to select domestic apps, that will be promoted by it. The idea was to develop a local product that can be used by the government and the private sector in times of social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Financial Express

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