BSNL launches first internet telephony service in India

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam ltd (BSNL) on Wednesday launched India`s first internet telephony service, `Wings,’ which would allow customers to make and receive calls over the internet from anywhere in India or abroad.

Communications minister Manoj Sinha launched the service on Wednesday.
With `Wings,’ BSNL is planning to incorporate apps like WhatsApp to its much awaited disruptive Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offering. Wings also allows BSNL subscribers to use rival networks to make voice and video calls.
"It will use a Mobile Numbering Scheme, and will need an SIP Client (soft app) to be downloaded and installed on a smart device (laptop, smartphone, tablet). It is expected to offer convenience to customers, and to open up additional revenue generation opportunities for BSNL," BSNL said in a statement.
BSNL plans to soon integrate short message service (SMS) and configure WhatsApp to Wings app and the app-based service are likely to be made available from 25 July.
This virtually means that the state-owned telco using a separate numbering series for internet telephony will also allow subscribers to authenticate and use WhatsApp service via a new number provided for Wings app.
With `Wings’ that allows consumers make unlimited video and voice calls on any other telco’s data or Wi-Fi network, is strategically trying to take on arch rival’s Reliance Jio’s JioChat as well as popular over-the-top (OTT) apps such as WhatsApp, Hike, Viber, WeChat and Facebook Messenger.
The service which also allows unlimited local and national voice calls at merely Rs1,099 for a year, also gives a flexibility to users to dial any number and connect their landline to receive or make seamless calls from anywhere.
The VoIP users of apps like WhatsApp, Hike or Facebook Messenger could make video and voice calls within the same mobile apps installed on their devices, but not to a mobile or landline.
“BSNL customers can avail this service either registering online or through 700 customers service centres (CSC) across the country in addition to a franchise network of more than 6 lakh retailers,” the top official said.
The state-run telecom operator sees the Internet telephony as a big disruption in India’s telecom space, and is also planning to make available a tutorial on YouTube for a step-by-step guide to subscribers willing to use Wings app.
Similar to other Internet-based apps, mobile users worldwide can make calls to India after downloading the Wings app, and the VoIP service will use a different mobile numbering scheme that already exists with the state-run carrier.
BSNL Wings leverages IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture and Next Generation Network (NGN) which transforms voice, data and videos into IP packets.
“We are putting new strategies and plans to solidify BSNL’s position in the current telecom market landscape,” upbeat Shrivastava said.
In May this year, the Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body of Department of Telecom (DoT), had approved that firms having a valid telecom licence can provide app-based calling service.