launched India's first legal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, NetFone, in New Delhi, in association with Aksh Optifibre for its broadband subscribers.
"With the launch of the VoIP service, we have managed to create a single communication platform for all Indians living in India and abroad. No more will calling international be viewed as expensive. The company will be uniquely advantaged as a solutions provider for a service that can potentially reach over four million broadband subscribers in both Delhi and Mumbai," says Dr Kailash Choudhari, managing director, Aksh Optifibre Ltd.
VoIP allows users to call each other using the Internet. The voice chat facility that Skype and Google Talk offer is based on VoIP. Calls made from Skype and Google Talk do not come under the legal framework in India, which means no authority can monitor or track a voice chat or call that takes place through it. However, the MTNL VoIP facility is legal and can be monitored.
MTNL is using differential pricing for VoIP calls across geographical areas. For 35 countries (including the US, the UK and Canada), it will charge Re 1 per minute, and for 45 countries (including Japan and Malaysia), the charge is Rs 2 per minute. For the remaining countries, the call charge is Rs 3 per minute.
Registration and installation cost Rs 500, plus another Rs 1,500, which is a one-time payment for the device that enables VoIP. Two tariff plans are available: Plan VoIP 200 with a monthly rental of Rs 200, which offers 400 minutes of PC-to-PC calls free and 20 paise per minute thereafter; and Plan VoIP 400 with a monthly rental of Rs 400, which offers 800 minutes of PC-to-PC calls free and 10 paise per minute thereafter. In order to call beyond this, there are prepaid cards available in denominations of Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, with validity of three months, six months and 12 months, respectively.