The tremendously independent telecom policy maker of India, TRAI, has sent recommendations to DoT asking the admin guys to allow VoIP in its full form. It is likely therefore that you will finally be able to save some lawyer fees that you must have paid so far in order to understand the mind boggling complexities of VoIP regulation in India. For the market, though, I reckon the policy decision â€“ if taken â€“ will be at least 10 years late.
In the UK when International Simple Resale (ISR) hit the market, Ofcom put a price cap on BT. BT could not lower down its price by more than X% per year on its ISD rates. Let us do a PhD to understand why. Assuming you are regulating a market driven segment of an economy, you would ideally protect the consumer interest by strengthening the competition in the segment. That is why resellers were free to price their ISD services in the UK while BT pricing was regulated. In India, however, DoT let its former government department (BSNL, which is essentially DoT) to drop prices before the competitors could come into the market. That took the life out of several competitive measures including network migration towards VoIP.
While in most countries migration towards VoIP resulted in price reductions, in India, VoIP is still struggling to find itself a role. That is particularly so because prices have already hit rock bottom. Result: There is no VoIP infrastructure in the country.
A big opportunity has been lost. The absence of VoIP infrastructure means absence of innovation around voice. By rendering VoIP impotent and a silent spectator, DoT has denied an Indian consumer a ubiquitous network/platform needed for new productive apps. The present TDM equipment deployed in tonnes will push for another 20 years of life in it. Keeping your telecom industry (the development of which holds a strong correlation with the overall economic development) backward by default is idiotic.
In addition to that, think of all the new entrepreneurship opportunities that could have been created had there been the underlying VoIP infrastructure in the country. Most new innovation in voice is coming from the web developers who leverage developer-friendly voice APIs of the underlying VoIP platforms and the VoIP network. Such infrastructure could have produced some cutting edge innovative stuff, which India so carnivorously craves for.