New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai will come out with a consultation paper on internet-based telephone service in a month.
"We are brining out consultation paper soon on internet telephony. It is a matter of weeks...A month," Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman R S Sharma told PTI when asked about the regulator's views on calls made through mobile applications.
There has been a huge debate in the industry over the framework for calls being made using the internet through various mobile applications.
Recently, telecom industry body COAI has objected to application-based calling service of state-run BSNL saying it is violates present norms.
The BSNL service allowing customers to make landline calls using mobile phone and vice-versa was launched by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in presence of telecom secretary J S Deepak on March 17.
Through the app, BSNL customers travelling abroad will be able to connect their landlines through mobile and make calls without attracting heavy ISD charges.
Sharma further said the paper will explore framework for internet telephony in present context.
Internet-based calls have also led to start of net neutrality debate in India when telecom major Bharti Airtel decided to charge these calls separately in December 2014 but withdrew the plan after public protest.
Sharma said the regulator will separately work on net neutrality issue and start with a pre-consultation paper.
"The pre-consultation paper on net neutrality will be issued within a couple of days. We are ensuring that the consultation paper is comprehensive and addresses all the issues. Hence, we are having limited or pre-consultation on net neutrality," Sharma said.
He said net neutrality is an extremely important issue and has many dimensions and the government has also asked it for comprehensive advise.
Trai recently came up with a consultation paper on providing free internet service.
Sharma said the paper on free data is to explore way for starting "toll free" kind of service in data world.
"There already exist toll free number for making calls on which caller from any network can make calls. Similarly, we are trying toll free kind of system for data services. We are not against free data. We are against the architecture which gives pipe (internet connection) providers to do gatekeeping function," Sharma said.