Airtel pre-paid VoIP data pack announced: Rs 75 for 75MB data with 28-day validity

Airtel has gone ahead and announced its VoIP data pack. The VoIP pack will cost prepaid Airtel customers Rs 75 for 75MB of data over a 28-day period.

While the government has assured that it will look into Airtel's decision to charge separately for VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calling, Airtel has gone ahead and announced its VoIP data pack. The VoIP pack will cost prepaid Airtel customers Rs 75 for 75MB of data over a 28-day period.

According to the statement, Airtel claims that the current VoIP model is not sustainable in its current form hence the need for an additional data pack. "Our voice services that are enjoyed by every one of our customers provides us the capacity to continuously invest in and upgrade our networks on an ongoing basis. We, therefore, believe that VoIP services in their current form are not tenable for us as a business. As a result we will charge separately for VoIP services," says the statement.

Airtel is claiming that it plans to come out with "affordable packages" keeping the convenience of customers "above all else".

For prepaid customers Airtel will charge Rs 75 for 75MB of data which it claims allows around 200 to 250 minutes of calling. Prepaid customers who have purchased plans before 24th December will be able to use all their services and on their next recharge, the new VoIP rules will be applicable.

The complete Press Release from Airtel about changes in its data plans

The complete statement from Airtel about changes in its data plans

Postpaid plans will also be announced soon. The changes will not be applicable immediately but will be released in a phased manner over the next few weeks. Customers will be informed in advance of the changed charges before hand says Airtel.

While Airtel is trying hard to justify its stand on charging separately for VoIP, the Twitterati certainly seem to be annoyed. At a time when the net neutrality debate is gaining traction globally, Airtel's move is completely anti-net-neutrality. Today Airtel is charging separately for VoIP calls, tomorrow it or some other telecom provider may come out with a separate plan for video streaming or some other internet activity. This can lead to a vicious cycle which will only end up inconveniencing the end-user.

Not long ago, telecom service providers had tried seeking TRAI recommendation on regulation of over-the-top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp, Viber, Line, WeChat and so on, planning to come out with a way to charge users for these services. Thankfully, that recommendation fell through and TRAI said it will not impose fees on OTT services.

Let us know what you think of Airtel's VoIP pack plans. Do you feel what they are charging is 'affordable'? Is Airtel keeping customer convenience 'above all else'? Let us know in the comments section.


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