Published: 06 October 2014
Microsoft has announced that it is withdrawing the Skype call service to Indian landlines and mobiles from within India, effective November 10.
While Skype users in India will no longer be able call Indian landlines and mobiles from November 10, they will still be able to send SMS messages to mobiles from within India.
Additionally, if they are travelling outside of India, users will be able to call on Indian landlines and mobiles from their Skype account. Microsoft says that there are no further changes and other services will continue as normal. Users will be able to make free Skype-to-Skype calls within India and outside, international Skype calls from India to landlines and mobiles in other countries and more.
In a statement to NDTV Gadgets, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "As of November 10, 2014 Skype will end support for calling within India, meaning calls to mobiles and landlines from Skype within India will no longer be available. Users in India can still make free Skype-to-Skype calls worldwide, international calls to mobiles and landlines and users outside the country can call mobiles and landlines in India. Skype WiFi and SMS messages are also available to users in India."
Although the company further didn't detail the reason for discontinuing the service, it seems the move is in response to Trai's decision to issue a consultation paper to discuss regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) players like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, WeChat etc.
The proposal was made by mobile service providers in August on the basis that they were suffering a loss of revenue due to declining use of cellular voice and SMS services.
It was estimated that free Skype phone calls using the Internet are costing telecom industry around $36 billion per year globally, as per data shared by PwC managing consultant Neeraj Kataria.
Speaking on behalf of the operators, telecom industry veteran TV Ramachandran had said, "We want some kind of regulatory help to get a level playing field. There are so many regulations binding on us but the same don't exist for OTT players. We can do a lot more if level playing field is given to us."
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