Skype to discontinue voice calling to phones within India from Nov 10

Microsoft-owned internet calling service Skype is discontinuing its voice calling services to landlines and mobile phones within India from November 10, 2014. What this basically means is that you will no longer be able to make Skype calls to landlines and mobile phones to India from India.

The company has further clarified that this change only affects Skype calls to landlines and mobiles, and users can still make Skype-to-Skype calls within India free of cost (data usage applicable). They can also call mobiles and landlines in India from outside the country, as well as make calls from India to other countries.

And if you have any Skype Credit in your accounts as of now, it can be used for Skype Wi-Fi or to send SMS messages to your contacts. In addition, if any user has bought a subscription specifically to make calls within the country, they will have to cancel the same in order to stop further billing.

"If you have bought a subscription to India specifically to call within the country, you can cancel your subscription to avoid being billed in the future. Keep in mind that before Nov 10, you can still use your subscription and Skype Credit to call within India, so be sure to use up any remaining minutes or credit you have before then," read an official statement from the company.

To cancel a subscription, you need to cancel the recurring payments. However, the subscription you have purchased remains active until it reaches its expiry date. For example, if you purchase a three month subscription, and then choose to cancel it, the subscription will remain active until the end of the 3 month period. If you don't want to keep your subscription, you can request a refund, but only if the subscription is unused and it hasn't expired.

Flak from Indian telcos

While the company has not specified any particular reason for stopping its voice calling services, it could be partly because of the flak it has been facing from telecom service providers in the Indian market. The telcos recently sought the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI's) intervention for a better level-playing field with companies that offer popular services like WhatsApp, Viber and Skype.

TRAI has also mentioned that it is planning to release a consultation paper to discuss regulatory framework for over the top (OTT) players. While these services make it much affordable for the consumers to send and receive messages, SMS services that are offered by telecom service providers have died a slow death because of them. Even the voice services are being affected as OTT services are free of cost so customers prefer them over payable call services.

In related news, mobile messaging app WhatsApp (acquired by Facebook) was also planning to launch its own voice calling service in the second quarter of this year. However, there is no word on that from the company so far. According to WhatsApp VP Neeraj Arora, the company is still working on the same, but they don't have a specific launch timeline as of now.

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