Barely two weeks since launch, BSNL's internet telephony service 'Wings' has received over 4,000 bookings for the new offering that will allow users to dial any phone number in India through a mobile app, starting this week, its Chairman said.
State-run BSNL's new service was unveiled by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on July 11, and will be operational from July 25.
"BSNL is the first to launch internet telephony service...We expect the service to attract customers especially the youth, who will be able to make internet calls through data connectivity. It will be particularly useful when the subscriber goes abroad," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told.
Over 4,000 customers have already subscribed to this new service, he added.
The service will allow customers to make unlimited calls by paying annual fee of Rs 1,099 and by using internet service or wi-fi of any telecom operator, to any phone number.
At present, voice calls can be made through mobile apps to users of the same app, as in case of, say, WhatsApp.
"Customers will be able to make calls to numbers in India using Wings app even from abroad. The app can be activated using internet anywhere in the world and calls can be made. The fee of Rs 1,099 includes unlimited calling within India," Shrivastava had said announcing the service on July 11.
It is not mandatory for Wings app user to apply for company's mobile and landline connection separately.
The government has recently amended norms to allow full-fledged internet telephony by telecom operators which will enable calls from app to app of licensed service providers as well as on phone numbers.
The new amendment allows only authorised licensed holders to provide full-fledged internet telephony and not over-the-top players like WhatsApp and Google Duo, that allow only app-to-app calling.
In effect, telcos have been allowed to piggyback on each others' data networks in case of voice calls over wi-fi, and these calls can terminate on mobile or landline networks.
This means that even in areas where mobile coverage is not good but internet is available by any other means including wi-fi, the Wings service riding on internet service of any operator will allow customer to make or receive calls.
The service provider will be required to comply with all the interception and monitoring related requirements and calls will be charged by telecom operators. All rules related to normal calls will be applicable on them.