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You May Soon be Able to Make Free Voice Calls Over Public Wi-Fi Networks

In a move to bring down voice calling charges further, several telcos are likely to provide access to making voice calls over public Wi-Fis, according to a report in Economic Times. This move can further help in better connectivity in the country, especially in remote areas with poor connectivity, even when there is no mobile signal.

Such a facility will enable several telecom operators to increase their reach all over the country and make it at par with others providing public Wi-Fi to its customers for making internet calls. Number 2 carrier in India, Vodafone, which is in talks to merge operations with Idea Cellular, already provides this service in markets like the UK and Australia and is preparing to replicate them in India, reported ET.

Recently, the sectoral regulator the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had also tweaked internet telephony rules. The clarification by Trai will allow telcos, who have got access service licence or unified licence, to offer VoIP (voice over IP) calls using any internet connection. The calls can be made to all mobile and landline numbers and the current interconnect charges will apply, which is 6 paisa for wireless calls and nothing for landline calls.

Users don’t need to take a new number for internet telephony as calls can be made using the current number. As per an official in Trai, internet telephony was allowed in the country since 2008 but mobile operators did not launch services as it was competing with their voice business.

According to media reports, Reliance Jio earlier ‘successfully’ tested its internet calling product. The department of telecommunications (DoT) on June 20 had amended licence conditions, allowing telcos to allow a single mobile number for both cellular mobile service and internet telephony service, which will open doors for carriers to offer voice over Wi-Fi service and will be available immediately in 4G VoLTE devices.

“Vodafone, which already offers the WiFi calling facility to customers in the UK and Australia, is likely to replicate the services in India initially to postpaid customers with compatible 4G VoLTE phones,” as told to ET.

Moreover, as reported by ET, a senior Idea executive, said their carrier has the technical ability to immediately offer WiFi calling services. “The WiFi calling option will have a beneficial impact on network congestion, reduce call drops and expand the reach of the Idea network,” he said. – Business Standard

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