alternative to voip in india

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has been a constant topic for discussion amongst service providers, both small and large, and also consumers – both businesses & individuals.

Though multiple news items like Mint’s coverage here have suggested that the Telecom Policy act will be changing soon, it has still not been approved by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and as things stand, VoIP calls within India are illegal in the following ways:

1. No Call initiated over Internet can land on a physical mobile or landline handset within India.
2. No Call initiated on a mobile or landline handset phone can land on a computer over internet within India.

This still allows VoIP providers to help provide infrastructure to International Call Centers,and International facing clientele companies, but it is not possible to extend this scope yet for existing Indian businesses focusing on India as their primary market.

A few suggestions for companies looking to do tele-calling/support and sales with international customers:

1. If you are big on call volumes, look at outsourcing or finding a VoIP solution from some vendor. Avaya, CISCO etc. are for the bigger players and normally starts in Lakhs & Crores!
2. If you are Small – use Skype πŸ™‚ , it is the best initial tool to utilize to converse with some of your customers.

So the question this post will answer in few quick points is, what does a business or an entrepreneur focusing on Indian customers/consumers do to solve his/her problem in interacting with them over voice?

Here are a few suggestions:

If you have massive call volumes of greater than 20,000-50,000 calls a day the advice would be to try 2 things:

1. Get a PRI (Primary Rate Interface) or lease-line setup, with a call center software solution which works over PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Try the Avaya/CISCO setup and see if it works for you.

2. Outsource your call center to someone like an Epicenter who have special licenses to receive calls over VoIP (licenses that cost way beyond a small/medium businesses budget to buy).

If you have lower call volumes and are looking for a solution, you could utilize 2 types of services depending upon your needs:

3. Installing an EPABX solution and purchasing a PRI setup like above, but that mostly will come for a good incoming call management system, though not always providing you great integration with software’s nor data of the callers etc.

4. You could use a solution like ours – Exotel, we provide a cloud telephony platform which provides multiple services for a small business and we can set you up in 15 minutes after you create an account . Once done, you could use some of these features such as IVR, Call Recording & Data, API integration, SMS and Outbound Calling both manually and automatically via IVR.

For those with some questions (FAQ) around VoIP – read on, tried answering a few basic one’s we get all the time:

Q. Can I receive calls on my computer?
A. Yes, if the call originates from outside India and No, if the call originates in India.

Q. What is the best way to have noise reduction on the phone (mobile or landline) someone would use daily in a small call center environment?
A. Check out the photo of the people in the Zivame team in our case study and you will notice they have 3.5 MM headphone-cum-microphone headsets which they bought from the market. Stable and being used by lots of folks.

Q. Is the voice quality of PSTN better than VoIP?
A. It depends, and is debatable, but as of now if you are a business in India, you have no other alternative but to rely on some credible service provider. What we do at Exotel is to build mutliple redundancy within the system and product so that the quality is as good as it can be, and this is done via smart coding by the folks here . So, assume if your main line is down, and you are worried, that will affect your business, Exotel smartly switches you over to another line automatically πŸ™‚

Q. Do I require Internet working full time for some of the alternative solutions to work?
A. Mostly No, we can answer for ourselves and Exotel calls continue going through over our multiple lines into your agents landline or mobile phone, and the calls will get recorded, data stored, just that he/she will not have a place to enter the details, apart from a pen or note book. But you can get the data back once your internet is up by checking the Exotel dashboards for call records and data.

Start your FREE Trial
AUTHOR: Vijay Sharma

Vijay Sharma, Co-founder at Exotel, is known for his extremely driven, straightforward and tactful nature. A hustler at heart and an excellent recruiter by profession, Vijay is the perfect blend of hard work and fun.

32 Comments
  • RT @Exotel: VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in India, What are some of the alternatives for Indian Businesses? http://t.co/sEu2ISrzha

    February 28, 2013
  • RT @Exotel: VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in India, What are some of the alternatives for Indian Businesses? http://t.co/sEu2ISrzha

    February 28, 2013
  • RT @Exotel: VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in India, What are some of the alternatives for Indian Businesses? http://t.co/sEu2ISrzha

    February 28, 2013
  • RT @Exotel: VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in India, What are some of the alternatives for Indian Businesses? http://t.co/sEu2ISrzha

    February 28, 2013
  • Balachandra Maddina

    Balachandra Maddina liked this on Facebook.

    February 28, 2013
  • Balachandra Maddina

    Balachandra Maddina liked this on Facebook.

    February 28, 2013
  • Hi Vijay,
    Can you support projects in MENA region.

    sabu

    April 28, 2013
      • Trupti

        Hi,
        If VOIP call is not allowed within India then what can I do for fully wireless Internet calling within INDIA?
        plz suggest ….

        May 6, 2013
          • Nikhil

            Hi, I want to receive a call originating from India on Web/Internet.
            I have a case where PSTN is my call origination point and the call end point is the web browser.
            Are licenses given for such interconnection ?
            If yes, Whom should I approach for licenses ?
            Could you please list few existing operators who have such licenses ? Thanks a lot for information Vijay.

            September 4, 2013
  • Hi Vijay,
    Can you support projects in MENA region.

    sabu

    April 28, 2013
    • Vijay Sharma

      Hi Sabu, we are currently only in India, when we expand, will ping you.

      May 2, 2013
      • Trupti

        Hi,
        If VOIP call is not allowed within India then what can I do for fully wireless Internet calling within INDIA?
        plz suggest ….

        May 6, 2013
        • Vijay Sharma

          You would need to get licenses or goto some of the existing operators and ask them for licenses. What is your used case Trupti?

          May 11, 2013
          • Nikhil

            Hi, I want to receive a call originating from India on Web/Internet.
            I have a case where PSTN is my call origination point and the call end point is the web browser.
            Are licenses given for such interconnection ?
            If yes, Whom should I approach for licenses ?
            Could you please list few existing operators who have such licenses ? Thanks a lot for information Vijay.

            September 4, 2013
  • SHANKAR RAJA

    Hi Vijay Sharma,
    Can yu share me your contact details on shankar03@gmail.com
    SHANKARRAJA

    June 21, 2013
  • SHANKAR RAJA

    Hi Vijay Sharma,
    Can yu share me your contact details on shankar03@gmail.com
    SHANKARRAJA

    June 21, 2013
    • Vijay Sharma

      Hi Shankar,

      You can call us on 8088-919-888 for any assistance or support.

      June 26, 2013
  • Can you please give a reference for the second rule? How can it be enforced? If I connect a PC/modem and answer via the computer is that OK? Now the computer packetizes the call and delivers to another computer, then all of a sudden, it is illegal? Call me skeptic.

    August 14, 2013
      • Hi Vijay. This is what I observed. When I posted my comment, I was notified that the comment is waiting moderation. When I refreshed the page sometime later, the comment disappeared. Usually, WordPress will display the status of the comment to the author of it. When I didn’t see my comment with the status notification, I assumed that you had disapproved the comment. That is bad on my part. In my defense, I did wait for sometime before tweeting.

        I was a bit jumpy b/c it is routine for Indian technical press/blogs to mischaracterize VoIP regulation in India. Let me be transparent. I do not have operational experience in India. What I know is based on TRAI documents. For example, take a look at http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/Recommendation/Documents/recom18aug08.pdf . So I was merely asking a reference for your claims.

        Let us take your specific example of using Skype to call Indian PSTN phones. Do you really mean to say it connects only sporadically? That is not my experience. I can call my Indian contacts using SkypeOut. None of my reading of TRAI documents suggest that it is illegal. AFAIK, a person can use SkypeOut to reach Indian phones by paying International rate, which will be more expensive than local PSTN rates. So no one will do it on economical grounds, bit on legality.

        On the other hand, I agree that the regulation prohibits somebody to connect VoIP equipment to their PBX. This is b/c somebody can then bringin VoIP traffic from outside and feed it ino Indian PSTN and avoid International tariff. But there are no regulations for somebody to have a VoIP endpoint or IP PBX that does not connect to Indian PSTN locally but connects to PSTN outside the country.

        August 15, 2013
          • I am being dense here. How are we on the same track? And how do we originate a Skype call originating from an Indian phone number?

            August 18, 2013
  • Can you please give a reference for the second rule? How can it be enforced? If I connect a PC/modem and answer via the computer is that OK? Now the computer packetizes the call and delivers to another computer, then all of a sudden, it is illegal? Call me skeptic.

    August 14, 2013
    • Vijay Sharma

      Hi Aswath, Firstly, we had not taken down your comment, due to spam issues, we approve, and always approve all real human comments πŸ™‚

      We ourselves are learning, and look forward to create clarity for ourselves and others around these laws and regulations which are difficult to comprehend, hence posts like these.

      Regarding your question, yes if you have licenses and pay a bit for that or use a VoIP provider who has licenses it is fine, but to get that, you typically need lots of money, and for small businesses the investment does not seem worth it.

      For e.g. a Skype call (Skype being an interesting replacement for a business phone by Indian businesses) made to an Indian no. is not possible, and sometimes it connects, but still ideally as per laws is not legal for a consumer or even a small business.

      That’s the point we are putting across, maybe I should change the language a bit to suggest it in this format? Do you think that would help?

      Also, if you have more info around this, would be great to connect, I am at vijay@exotel.in

      And last point, as mentioned we are really striving hard to put as much as of the truth we know out there, and if our conversations helps potential readers, would love to share that too.

      Thanks a lot,
      Vijay

      August 15, 2013
      • Hi Vijay. This is what I observed. When I posted my comment, I was notified that the comment is waiting moderation. When I refreshed the page sometime later, the comment disappeared. Usually, WordPress will display the status of the comment to the author of it. When I didn’t see my comment with the status notification, I assumed that you had disapproved the comment. That is bad on my part. In my defense, I did wait for sometime before tweeting.

        I was a bit jumpy b/c it is routine for Indian technical press/blogs to mischaracterize VoIP regulation in India. Let me be transparent. I do not have operational experience in India. What I know is based on TRAI documents. For example, take a look at http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/Recommendation/Documents/recom18aug08.pdf . So I was merely asking a reference for your claims.

        Let us take your specific example of using Skype to call Indian PSTN phones. Do you really mean to say it connects only sporadically? That is not my experience. I can call my Indian contacts using SkypeOut. None of my reading of TRAI documents suggest that it is illegal. AFAIK, a person can use SkypeOut to reach Indian phones by paying International rate, which will be more expensive than local PSTN rates. So no one will do it on economical grounds, bit on legality.

        On the other hand, I agree that the regulation prohibits somebody to connect VoIP equipment to their PBX. This is b/c somebody can then bringin VoIP traffic from outside and feed it ino Indian PSTN and avoid International tariff. But there are no regulations for somebody to have a VoIP endpoint or IP PBX that does not connect to Indian PSTN locally but connects to PSTN outside the country.

        August 15, 2013
        • Vijay Sharma

          Agree with you, let me further explain the point on Skype, so it is possible and many people do it, and your point of $ spent is more than just making a local call, but if you look at the terms and understand it, starting a VoIP (skype) call originating from an Indian phone number to another phone number is what I am trying to suggest, I think both of us are on the same track πŸ™‚

          August 16, 2013
          • I am being dense here. How are we on the same track? And how do we originate a Skype call originating from an Indian phone number?

            August 18, 2013
  • Nipun

    Hi,

    I’m looking forward to a possibly urgent solution to this. I wanted to understand if it is possible to get a India personal number for anyone to call me and it forwards the call to my US cellphone no. E.g. If someone has to call me, they can simply dial an India no. like (+91)9876512345 and it forwards the call to my US cell phone for me to talk without the caller realizing attention or having to download/install anything at their end. And I should be able to make calls in a way that it is seen as the India no. (+91)9876512345 to the recipient, without knowing anything about it.

    Thanks,
    Nipun

    September 22, 2013
  • Nipun

    Hi,

    I’m looking forward to a possibly urgent solution to this. I wanted to understand if it is possible to get a India personal number for anyone to call me and it forwards the call to my US cellphone no. E.g. If someone has to call me, they can simply dial an India no. like (+91)9876512345 and it forwards the call to my US cell phone for me to talk without the caller realizing attention or having to download/install anything at their end. And I should be able to make calls in a way that it is seen as the India no. (+91)9876512345 to the recipient, without knowing anything about it.

    Thanks,
    Nipun

    September 22, 2013

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.