Voice over Internet Protocol is a well-known technology that allows voice and multimedia communication over Internet Protocol, for example, internet. These tools like IP phones, Skype, G Talk etc enables cost-effective voice calling and video conferencing, which also aids in efficient spectrum utilisation.
Other than the advantage that VoIP can lower the infrastructure and communication costs, they additionally enable secure voice connection and is location-independent. However, the quality of service of VoIP remains under scanner since the implementation of VoIP is prone to jitter and latency problems. They are also very susceptible to traffic congestion and power failures. Emergency calls cannot be routed to the proper locations because of its failure to locate users geographically. Similarly, it is not easy to implement Mobile Number Portability with these services. To top it all, in India, having VoIP gateway is illegal because according to DoT, the interception of calls becomes difficult.
VoIP started its journey, in India, in 2002 with the telecom department, DoT setting up certain guidelines for the Internet Telephony that allowed only Internet Service Providers to offer PC-to-phone voice services for making international calls. However, this came as a setback to PSTN because the call origination and call termination were allowed only for the IP devices and not on the PSTN devices.
By 2005, DoT had given permission for unrestricted Internet Telephony to the access providers in India. From the early 2006, ISPs were directed to pay 6 percent of its revenue as licence fees, which restricted ISPs from providing the services. This step was a huge leap in changing the VoIP market in India.
The access providers, who had limitless and unrestricted powers to provide the services in the country, were hardly interested in providing the services because they were already offering long distance call services. VoIP was a far cheaper service which could have posed as a detriment to their long distance revenues. The access providers were without competition from any other provider, which scuttled the growth of VoIP technology further. The limits, thus, forced on the VoIP utilisation went a long way in hampering its growth and one can easily say that VoIP almost died a pre-mature death at the hands of DoT.
But despite the ongoing discussion whether VoIP must be legalised or not, VoIP continues to affect us in a big way and the idea has already taken root. However, the future of VoIP is still capable of throwing surprises anytime.
About the author: Nisha Meledath is a Contributing Editor for TradeBriefs. She can be reached at