VoIP in India
Interesting Article in Hindustan Times about VoIP in India (also covering TringMe) :
Let me share some more views on this.
Although, operators like BSNL and MTNL are opening up to embrace VoIP, the tax and fee structure required by TRAI and operators make it difficult to provide VoIP services at a competitive rate. For e.g. DoT charges an additional 12.5% service tax on total charges which is relatively very high when compared around the world, makes it difficult for an Indian company to really provide world-class service at a competitive pricing, especially when a user have alternate option. What would DoT do if user directly buys credit from companies operating in US/Europe which will turn out to be lot cheaper compared to buying from India when 12.5% service tax is added ? There is certainly no advantage for either Indian VoIP companies or DoT as both will loose revenue.
To make VoIP really “affordable” for companies established in India, a revolution similar to the celluar revolution in India – ‘world’s best per min charges’ – is necessary. From a technical point of view, there are companies in India which can claim a stake to provide complete infrastructure which is the best amongst the world. It is interesting to know that while most companies in world like Gtalk, Skype, or TringMe provide inter-user VoIP communication for free, BSNL/MTNL charges 10 paise per user-to-user VoIP minute (PC-to-PC) which is extremely uncompetitive. As we can see from Puneet’s excellent article, market potential is immense and can really take off if done well.
India is amongst the top 5 counties in the world to use Smartphones. Hence, if done well, Mobile VoIP can become an extremely affordable, lucrative and convenient technology in India. Companies like TringMe are bringing in Mobile VoIP support for Smartphones so that one can use VoIP during travelling or on road and not just when one is in front of a PC. This has the potential to change the market dynamics in countries like India and China where mobile device penetration carries a huge momentum.
Disclaimer: I have active role and personal stake in TringMe