TRAI recommends licence amendment to facilitate Internet calls

Telecom regulator TRAI today recommended amending a Unified Licence provision for inter-connection at the IP level which would facilitate Internet-based calls, alternatively known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

PTI| Updated: Feb 11, 2016, 22:08 PM IST

New Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI today recommended amending a Unified Licence provision for inter-connection at the IP level which would facilitate Internet-based calls, alternatively known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

There is no explicit clause relating to inter-connection at the IP level in the existing licences, which necessitates insertion of such a clause, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Since IP-based networks, TRAI said, continue to proliferate and traditional circuit switch networks are gradually being phased out, there exists a need to facilitate inter-connection.

Once the Department of Telecom (DoT) amends the licence, it will benefit telecom operators as they can terminate Internet calls on each other's network without going for any media gateway switch.

"The Authority recommends the amendment to clause 27.3 in the Unified Licence for inter-connection at the IP level. It is also recommended that similar amendment to this effect may also be incorporated in relevant clauses in other licence agreements," TRAI said in its recommendations for 'Migration to IP-based network'.

The new IP-based network as well as its co-existence with legacy network is expected to give rise to operational, inter-connection and service quality issues, which need to be addressed for successful migration to IP-based networks, TRAI had said earlier in a consultation paper.

Network of all telecom companies is inter-connected, which is vital for completion of calls or sharing of messages through mobile or landline phones.

The clause 27.3 of the Unified Licence specifically deals in inter-connection between networks of different licensees for carrying circuit-switched traffic. It also provides for inter-connection between a circuit-switched network and an IP-based one through a media gateway switch.

But there is no explicit mention of an inter-connection at the IP level between two licensees.

DoT, in its letter dated November 10, 2015 to TRAI, had flagged industry concerns on removal of inter-connection restrictions at the IP level to ensure seamless connectivity and requested TRAI to indicate an expected timeline for the same.