Calling cards offer flexibility to consumers: Scindia

February 3rd, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Minister of State for Communications and IT Jyotiraditya Scindia Tuesday said the government has accepted the calling card proposal, which would offer flexibility to consumers to choose their carrier for making long-distance calls. “The calling cards for both STD and ISD calls have been accepted, making it flexible for consumers to switch their carriers for long distance calls,” Scindia said at a conference here.

This would mean allowing subscribers to choose their carrier for making long-distance calls whether domestic or international (STD and ISD).

This implies that a Vodafone subscriber can buy a prepaid long distance package from any other telecom service provider like the state-owned BSNL for a particular period. The customer is required to punch in a set of numbers specified on the calling card to get on the BSNL network and make calls.

However, the issue of internet telephony has been referred back to the telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), for its recommendations.

Internet telephony, if approved, will allow consumers to make calls from their personal computers or laptops to fixed lines or mobile phones in India or abroad. They could also make a call to personal computers from their mobile handsets.

Internet Telephone will help consumers make STD calls for as cheap as 10-40 paise per minute, apart from making free local calls from their computers or mobiles or fixed lines.

However, the Wimax Forum chairman C.S. Rao, who was present at the conference, differed from the argument that internet telephony would usher in a new era of cheaper long distance calls and broadband growth.

Wimax Forum is a body of wimax and broadband service providers.

“It’s strange that people think that broadband as a service needs voice as a killer service to grow,” Rao said.

“Moreover, for broadband growth to get a boost, PC (personal computer) penetration is important… Not many rural household have a computer at their home,” he said.

According to Rao, approving unrestricted internet telephony “will not be fair” as the telecom operators pay such “exorbitant prices for spectrum”.

“The internet telephony has to be approved in a manner that is conducive for both internet service providers as well as the telecom operators,” he added.

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