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October 06, 2014

Skype Ends Support for In-India Skype-to-PSTN Calling


By Gary Kim Contributing Editor



Without saying why the action is being taken, Skype is halting support for calls inside India. The change does not affect international calls placed from India, or international calls to India. The new policy takes effect Nov. 10, 2014.


The new policy applies to in-country calls using the public network, not Skype-to-Skype calls, which still will be supported.

In the absence of any explanation, it is hard to determine why the policy is being changed, and whether other VoIP services such as Viber or WhatsApp might do something similar.

Some might argue the change has something to do with regulations that actually prohibit the use of VoIP services such as Skype to make calls on phones using the internet.

Since regulations do not allow such call origination, VoIP providers have been rerouting in-country calls internationally then bringing them back into India, to avoid breaking the law.

Since the law does not appear to have changed, some other consideration is at play.

Termination payments might be more the issue, since calls received in India on landline or mobile phones are subject to inter-carrier payments. It is possible Skype simply sees this as a measure to reduce the amount of terminating access payments it makes to other carriers.

On the other hand, the change only affects Skype calls to India landlines and mobiles, when initiated inside India.

Skye likely continues to make most of its revenue from customer using SkypeOut in India to call international phone numbers. That makes potential terminating costs for in-country calls an expense, for a feature without much direct revenue.

Users can call mobiles and landlines in India from outside the country (as well as make calls from India to other countries) from phone to phone, so it isn’t clear that terminating access charges necessarily are affected by the change.

Such calls to a landline or a mobile phone network “have always been against regulations in India...this is probably a move by Microsoft to align themselves with the regulations,” said Jayanth Kolla, a partner with Convergence Catalyst, a telecommunications consultancy in Bangalore, India.




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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