Have you been facing incessant call drops or frustrated over the poor network quality on your mobile phone? There might be relief soon.
According to a Times of India report, telecom operators and other firms who have secured a telephony licence may soon be able to offer broadband or internet services to help you call mobile or landline numbers to help you deal with network issues. The report says that under the new service, these companies might be able to offer you a new telephone number that may not require a SIM card but can be used by downloading an app that will activate the service.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had introduced the proposal for the new service in October last year, the report said.
The report added that the inter-ministerial Telecom Commission has approved the proposal and will allow telcos such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone to roll out the new service. “This (the new service) will give more options to consumers, especially in areas where quality of service is an issue. These include places such as buildings and even homes where conventional telecom signals are weak while Wi-Fi availability is strong,” Arvind Kumar, adviser at TRAI, was quoted as saying.
TRAI's offering is not a game-changer as even messaging services like WhatsApp offer voice calls via the internet. However, a WhatsApp user can only make calls to another user of the chat messaging service.
Unlike WhatsApp or Skype, where an app must be installed by both the caller and the receiver, the new app proposed by TRAI will allow a user to make calls to any phone number without the need for the receiver to install the app.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Telecom Commission also approved a proposal by the Department of Telecommunications to allow travellers to make calls and even use the internet on aircraft.
In 2015, many startups, including Bhavin Turakhia-led Ringo, had sensed a market opportunity in internet telephony due to the call drop issue. TRAI reviewed each of these companies and had asked some of them to stop services as they were not telephony licence holders.
Ringo had run into trouble with TRAI because the regulator said that it was buying minutes from multiple service providers in bulk, which went against the law in the country. At that time, an Economic Times report said that Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India, and Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal had both alleged that Ringo engaged in foul play by reducing the prices of calls.