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Indian Minister Says Telecom Companies Should Only Charge For Data 177

bhagwad writes "In the US, telecom carriers are trying their best to hold on to depleting voice revenues. Over in India, the telecom minister urged carriers to stop charging for voice calls and derive all their revenues only from data plans. Is this kind of model sustainable, where voice becomes an outmoded and free technology, and carriers turn entirely into dumb pipes which have no control over what passes over them? This is a step forward and hopefully will make Internet service more like a utility."
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Indian Minister Says Telecom Companies Should Only Charge For Data

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  • It's ALL data... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:52AM (#41506425)
    What drives me bananas about these plans is in the end it's all data anyway. Whether you're updating Facebook or chatting with Granny, in the end it's just bits streaming to and from your phone. In the old analog cell phone days a case could be made for a user using up a circuit-switched channel for their voice call, but today with packet switching it seems irrelevant.
  • Voice IS data. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gehrehmee ( 16338 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:02PM (#41506479) Homepage

    Voice is data. It happens to not be very much data, based on how we compress it. Charge it for what it is.

    There is the little catch that we want it to be low latency, and in that sense it may well be worth charging a bit of a premium for it.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:10PM (#41506529)

    so you want to subsidize phone calls by overcharging on data...

    You assume voice and data are ultimately different things. If providers simply charged for data (which may or may not happen be voice), and competed on $/megabyte, then making a phonecall would be vanishingly cheap, and texts even moreso.

    I realize I just said something different than the Indian telecomm minister, who things voice should be completely free. But I think simply dropping the mostly mental distinction between voice and data accomplishes almost the same thing and makes more sense.

  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:14PM (#41506557)

    I think the idea is that bits are bits, and the voice should all be VOIP over your data connection, and you're charged just for the data which includes the voice.

    I've long been thinking that content and delivery need to be separated in the Cable TV industry, and voice and data should be consolidated under the Cellular system as well as POTS.

    The cable company or phone company or Google should provide a pipe to our house that we pay maintenance for, and TV channels, websites, VOIP, should all be purchased from separate companies.

    If everything is digital, we should be charged strictly for the bits that flow in and out of our house, not separately for different classifications of data.

  • Quality of service (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:26PM (#41506659)

    Voice is lower total bandwidth but requires low latency and no interruptions to be high quality. When data connections are not strained then there is no challenge to provide that but it can become important and thus much more expensive than the data it bears. Personally I do use VOIP and so I know it's not as good as non-voip some of the time.

  • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:34PM (#41507123) Journal

    Two things will happen:

    1) New phones will be changed so that both voice and SMS's are sent over the data channel
    2) Suddenly, every carrier will be all over HD Voice. Who needs compression, you need to be able to clearly hear the other party and they need to clearly hear you!

    Carriers have the knowledge and experience to game whatever system politicians can come up with, even if the carrier's don't millions of dollars helping to craft new rules/regulations.

  • by snakeplissken ( 559127 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:56PM (#41507273)

    47% of the population gets a FREE (as in you pay for it) ObamaPhone

    actually it's a reaganphone if anything, since the scheme that provides them was introduced under his regime...
    i guess that makes reagan a dirty socialist? :)


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