MTNL to provider Cheap VOIP Service in Indian Sub-continent

The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited is on an expansion run, and in more than one ways. The PSU is conducting feasibility studies to start VoIP in Nepal, is planning to start VoIP services in Delhi and Mumbai, and is close to purchasing a Sri Lankan fixed-wireless operator. Let’s take all of these up one by one.

If you’re a regular reader of VoIP Guides, we don’t need to tell you about the first bit. You already know that, because we’ve already covered that… LAST month. While other VoIP Guides are scrambling to cover the news about UTL’s license in Nepal now, we at VoIP Guides finished and filed the story way back on July 4.

But here’s the short version of it, anyway – after annual losses of more than NRS 8 billion, the Nepal government has finally given the green signal to the state owned Nepal Telecom and United Telecom Limited – the joint venture between MTNL, VSNL, TCI and Nepal Venture Private Limited – to offer Voice over Internet Protocol Services as part of their telecommunication packages). We also said that the VoIP project in Nepal was still in its initial phases, with UTL beginning to conduct feasibility studies to identify partners it could ally with overseas to offer to the new technology to its subscribers.

There’s an update to the same. UTL – which operates a CDMA-based telecom service and an ILD service for around 100,000 customers – has now started with its viability and feasibility studies, and initial estimates hint that its international VoIP tariff could be as low as Re. 1 a minute.

MTNL is not only expanding its domain in Nepal, but here in India too, planning to start VoIP services in India which will allow ISD calls @ Re. 1/min, making it very much like the One India Plan, which offers STD calls at the same rate. The company – which was the first to bring true, affordable broadband and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) to the average consumer – is also planning to revamp its entire IPTV service, adding 100 more channels to it by Independence Day, August 15.

And finally, proceeding yet a bit more south, we hear whispers of the PSU’s activities in Sri Lanka. According to regional press reports, MTNL is close to completing the purchase of Sri Lankan fixed-wireless operator Suntel (What’s with Telecom Operators about this Sun thing anyway? SunRocket, Suntel… is it some kind of tradition?), having already sent a high-level delegation to conduct due diligence on the company. MTNL is believed to have emerged as the highest bidder for Suntel – which has a customer base of around 300,000 and offers fixed line services based on CDMA WiLL technology – with a bid of between USD 160 million and USD 180 million.

So, am I expected to comment on all this? Of course I am! So clearing my throat, I’ll say in the deepest baritone I can muster up… “It’s one small step for MTNL… One giant leap… for Internet Telephony.” Lets hope MTNL manage to provide cheap VOIP service in Indian sub-continent.

This article is written by Samarth Chandola, our VOIP news Editor.
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