and existing players wonder what kind of impact VoIP will
have in the market and what percentage of calls will be IP-based
telecom sector is opening up at last. The government has permitted
the entry of private operators for NLD services. Internet
Telephony/VoIP will be legalized from April 2002 and the ILD
sector will be thrown open to private operators soon after.
So we can expect cheaper phone calls and more widespread usage
of VoIP in the enterprise.
of VoIP will create opportunities for both new and existing
players, generating the competition needed to drive down India's
phone prices, which are among the highest in the world,"
opines M Balashankar, Business Manager, Communication &
Product Services, Infosys Technologies. "This will in
turn lead to growth in traffic volumes, spurring further investments
in India's telecom infrastructure."
ISPs, international telecom companies and equipment vendors
are all standing by to capitalize on these developments. Equipment
providers like Nortel Networks are already talking to local
carriers and ISPs.
will soon enter the Indian market and focus on ILD,"
confirms Enis Erkel, VP-Carrier VoIP, Asia Pacific, Nortel
Networks. "We are bringing in end-to-end solutions for
both enterprise customers as well as the carriers. We are
already talking to three or four potential customers here."
IP Telephony solutions providers have chosen local partners/channels
to market their offerings. For instance InnoMedia, a maker
of IP videophones, VoIP gateways and other IP Telephony solutions,
has partnered with Tata net for national distribution.
Local ISPs are also gearing up for voice services, as this
will bring in much-needed revenue from value-added services.
Amitabh Singhal, Secretary, Internet Service Providers Association
of India (ISPAI), says the legalization of Internet Telephony
will enable private ISPs to grow Net traffic and increment
revenues by offering services such as real time online fax,
video chats, Web conferencing, etc. It could also help ISPs
to support other applications like Web-based call centers.
But what will it take to excel and lead in this Second
service providers who can adapt their existing network infrastructure
for next-generation multimedia applications and services will
lead," says Nortel's Enis Erkel. He speaks enthusiastically
about the convergence of voice, video and data networks and
the emergence of Multimedia over Packeta next generation
Though ISPs want a share of the lucrative Internet Telephony
pie, they face opposition from existing telecom companies,
whose revenues could be severely affected. Some feel both
ISPAI's Amitabh Singhal says telecom operators can benefit
too. "Following the international trend, basic telecom
operators will gain in the long-term through increased call
volumes. For them too, Internet Telephony represents an opportunity
to value add to their traditional voice offerings. It's a
fact that most telecom companies around the world have embraced
telephony and co-exist with other application and service
As many await the legalization of VoIP, new and existing players
what kind of impact it will have in the market and what percentage
of calls will be IP-based after April 2002.
too premature to comment on the size of the market and the
revenue opportunity in it," says Jangoo Dalal, VP-Channels
& Business Development, Network Support Services, Cisco
India. "The dynamics of the market will only start shaping
up once the market is opened up entirely. It is hard to put
financial figures onto individual areas such as personal productivity
or moves or changes, and they vary from one organization to
another but feedback from the market is very positive. One
thing is for sure and cannot be contested is the total cost
of ownership of an IP-centric solution is significantly lower
than that of conventional telephony."
Other industry captains that we spoke to had similar opinions.
For now one can only speculate on the potential of VoIP, without
accurately describing in advance, the kind of impact it will
have on the market.