In an interview, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike messenger founder and CEO said that Indian mobile service providers like Bharti Airtel, are getting worried about voice calling through VoIP using smartphone apps that are eating up their voice calls earnings. However, such services can open a new ‘fat revenue stream’ for telecommunication giants.
Kavin says, “We believe that it is not as big a threat as the market is making it out to be…We believe that even if, let’s say voice minutes are cannibalised, if that happens, you are getting people to buy data packs, so you are opening up a brand new very fat revenue stream and to me that’s a win-win in long term.”
Recently, Bharti Airtel Ltd moved to charge higher rates from their customers for using VoIP protocol used in services like Skype, Viber, etc. The company’s spokesperson said that the move would be prudent to use the bandwidth for surfing rather than using heavy apps like Skype and YouTube. But after a huge opposition, the telecommunication firm rolled back its decision to charge extra for the VoIP calls.
Earlier previous month, Kavin Mittal overtook US-based Zip Phone that offers free voice call services over VoIP. “From day one, we have strongly believed we can bring India online through communication. With this acquisition, we take another step towards that mission. Zip Phone’s technology will allow us to bring free voice calling to the market much faster. Incidentally, this is one of the features most requested by our users,” Kavin said.
“We believe that for services like Hike and YouTube and so forth, people actually buy data plans. If we did not exist, people would not buy data. So, on one hand we are driving a new source of revenue for telcos as the data growth for mobile operator is close to 100 percent a year and now it contributes to double-digit percentage in top notch revenues.” he said.
As TeCake earlier reported, with providing free voice call service comes the fear of revenue cut for telecom companies. After the arrival of instant messaging, people rarely use messaging service provided by telcos that resulted in five percent reduction in total revenue. According to a report, more than 80 percent revenue for telecom operators is generated through voice calls. Now companies are coming up with free voice calls which might be a big cause of concern for telcos.
Beside this, the mobile messaging giant, WhatsApp launched its voice call feature in India for limited android users.