Update (29 Nov): COnratulations Netizens! Airtel has rolled back its decision for now! However please make sure to register your protest.
In this information age USP is creating a WOW experience for your customers. Airtel is on stale path of trying to create entry barriers for VoIP service providers, for which it will be hated. It is hence blocking innovation for growing its profit margins (which is already high – Read this excellent article). The goodwill which Airtel has gained via its good services is being lost by its recent decision to charge its customers higher for VoIP calls. Other telecom players are waiting in fringes to see the public reaction before going ahead. These are signs of failure for telecom industry. They should innovate or remain tubes for data and voice.
The world is changing fast and ahoy, at what the speed. The companies in technology need to constantly evolve and provide superior services to their customers to keep up with their expectations.
Growth of Whatsapp has stumped the telecom players worldwide. They did not see the opportunity of video and picture messaging in time and they are now struggling. They should had created this infrastructure themselves to facilitate customers. They have yet again faulted and not innovated on Voice telephony which is being challenged by VoIP. Sky high revenues (barriers again) are being challenged by likes of Viber and Skype.
Whenever service providers become too big to listen to their consumers, such innovation from small players is necessary for them to make them hear to voices on ground.
To some extent the license regime created by government is also responsible for this mess. Government has created barriers by allowing only few players in telecom market by providing licenses for such high rates. Later in lust of return on investment and to grow profit margins they try to suck customers blood sweat and what not. Telecom licenses should become more open and internet services should be like municipal water (cheap and abundant). Open licenses (just like community radio) should be available to break cartel of these giants. Public Wi-Fi should also be damn cheap.
The VoIP being discriminated is a dangerous precedent and consumers should raise their voice. Note this, there will be no end to this injustice if we do not raise voice now. Today they have discriminated on VoIP. Tomorrow they may charge another application on higher rate for increasing their revenues. Say for ex. you will be charged extra for using favorite Facebook app or you will be charged lesser for Flipkart/Amazon app (and take a cut in sales from them). With tie-up from Google, it may ask you to watch cheaper youtube (hence track you more). Service provider may block access to sites and posts like these which criticize such policies. Possibilities with deep packet inspection are endless.
How can you have maximum impact:
- Express your displeasure by writing email to – email@example.com (Airtel) and CC: firstname.lastname@example.org (Department of Telecommunications) and email@example.com (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India)
- Port you no and specifically tell them the reason that Airtel is against Net Neutrality.
- Discuss this with you friends
- Tweet about it (Enough samples available on http://www.netneutrality.in).
- Share concerns on social media – Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, public forums etc
Some free advice to Airtel (and likes): Try brin some innovation and introduce free VoIP for yourself. You can do it better than Viber and Skype. If you do not mend your ways, public and technology will find a way to bypass you too.
Small Tip to internet junkies there: Use Wi-Fi to make Viber calls for now. Allow your friends to use your cheap wifi and tether your connection (if not on Airtel) – Your bhalai ki supply.
- http://www.niticentral.com/2014/12/27/airtel-voip-charges-net-neutrality-293267.html – Surprisingly Niticentral CEO is supporting Airtel with his lame arguments. Please check this too.