Have you ever wondered that whats up calls are not for free the telecom operators charges data rates for voice calls made using over-the-top (OTT) services such as whatsapp, jio chat , among others However, they get away without ensuring that such voice calls are of comparable quality to regular voice call service. While charging for calls on WhatsApp and the like, telecom operators claim that the OTT is a data service that adds pressure on their data switch, and should be charged accordingly. Customers using voice calls on various OTT platforms are charged on the same rate as the data transfer on a pro-rata basis. As customers continue to make such calls without knowledge of the billing and operators are choosing to inform them only when customers complain of higher bills, a debate is raging.
“It is a service that runs on a telecom network and uses the infrastructure, and hence a cost should be there… If the app company is making moneyout of it (by charging customers), then they should share the revenue. They should also have similar conditions for offering voice services like operators”
said Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAD) Even as the debate continues, a committee set up by the communications ministry on the service parameters for the OTT applications has suggested stringent penal actions for any deterioration in quality of services offered.