Update: Owing to complains and pressure from all sides, Airtel has postponed the introduction of VoIP packs.
Bharti Airtel previously announced that it would start charging for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls and today, via a PR, they’ve revealed why they are charging separately for the VoIP data. They also introduced their first VoIP data pack which is priced at ₹75.
Airtel VoIP Data Pack Details
Airtel only introduced one VoIP calling pack today which will cost ₹75 to the subscribers with 75MB of bundled data which is said to provide 200-250 minutes of calling. The validity of this pack will be 28 days. Airtel is supposed to introduce more VoIP packs later and we’ll keep this post updated when that happens.
The changes aren’t applicable immediately and the prepaid subscribers who already have a data pack (subscribed before 25th December) will be able to use it in whatever way they want. Seemly said, VoIP calling can be done using the same, but when it expires, the new data pack subscriptions won’t include VoIP.
Why Charge Separately for VoIP?
Airtel made the decision to charge for VoIP because it is hurting their business. According to Airtel, they invested over Rs. 140,000 crores in rolling out telecommunications services during the past 20 years. Adding to that, they have also paid over s. 50,000 crores in terms of government levies in just 5 years. Hence, Airtel has invested a lot and online services are not letting in a steady ROI for them.
In short, firstly Messaging services like WhatsApp and WeChat affected their revenue from carrier based text messaging (SMS). Now, as VoIP gets more readily available, it is supposed to affect operator’s revenues from voice calling. A data pack which was previously used to browse the internet is now being used to do everything else from which carriers earn. So, such a move is necessary for long-term sustenance of the carrier’s business.
I believe other carriers will be following Airtel to take a similar decision. Everyone out there has invested a lot in making their services available and they deserve getting a steady return on their investment. This is also necessary to keep the data traffic in control while carriers upgrade their capacity.