The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has written to Indian telecom regulator TRAI to seek its intervention to immediately stop state-run BSNL’s app-based calling service.
“We request your kind intervention in issuing an immediate direction to the BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.) for withdrawing this app-based calling service,” Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, COAI, said in the letter to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Secretary Sudhir Gupta. Under the new service, the customers can make and receive calls while connected to a BSNL broadband modem by downloading the app onto their smartphones.
This service is in no way linked with mobile service or customer SIM in mobile handset. The COAI letter said: “BSNL’s Fixed Mobile Telephony (FMT) service is a restricted but in-principle same version of their FMT service, even though they are marketing it as a distinct service.”
The new service allowing app-based calls will result in handover of calls to the terminating operator using the CLI (command line interface) of fixed line.
“If such a call is made by subscriber to the BSNL app from a number specifically assigned to the app, then such call is originated by the app subscriber from Wi-Fi connectivity of a broadband subscriber. It is not a call originated from the IP address of the broadband subscriber which has been given by BSNL.
“Such routing with an app number is not allowed under the licence and it is not Internet telephony,” the COAI said. Noting that the terminating operator will receive this call as if it originated from BSNL’s domestic fixed line network, the COAI said the new service is disguised as a Public Switched Telephone Network service.
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