Airtel halts the launch of VoIP based data packs in India for now

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Earlier this week, Airtel — one of the largest mobile network operator in India — announced a VoIP specific data pack for Indian customers. This move from the carrier was clearly against net neutrality and angered a lot of customers. 

The anger of consumers has certainly worked as Airtel has now announced that it is deferring the rollout of VoIP based data packs until TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) releases a consultation paper on this matter.

“In view of the news reports that a consultation paper will be issued shortly by (regulator) TRAI on issues relating to services offered by OTT players including VoIP, we have decided not to implement our proposed launch of VoIP packs. We have no doubt that as a result of the consultation process, a balanced outcome would emerge that would not only protect the interests of all stakeholders and viability of this important sector but would also encourage much needed investments in spectrum and roll out of data networks to fulfil the objective of digital India.”

When Airtel had announced the launch of a VoIP based data pack, TRAI’s chief Rahul Khullar had told The Financial Express that while the move from the carrier was against net neutrality, it was not illegal and so the body could not force it to cancel the launch of exclusive VoIP based data packs.

Whatever the case might be, it looks like Indian operators and even TRAI are clearly against net neutrality, with the latter soon possibly announcing a consultation for “OTT” players like WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and other similar services.

[Via Times of India]

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