Ringo Halts Domestic Call Service in India After Telcos Allegedly Block It

Internet voice calling app Ringo has paused its cheap domestic voice calling service in India. The company said on Monday that some operators are allegedly blocking the service on their networks. Ringo further noted that it is putting the domestic service, which it had launched just last week, on halt for all until it resolves the issue.

Ringo, a popular international voice calling app, announced cheap voice call tariff plans for Indian users last week. As per which, a user could make an STD call or a local call at a call rate of Rs. 0.19 per minute. In comparison, popular telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea charge roughly around Rs. 1.20 per minute for STD calls, and Rs. 0.40 per minute with any special tariff plan.

And it seems, at least some telecom operators weren’t pleased by it. Ringo claimed some telecom operators started to block Ringo’s domestic calls in the country last week. Ringo hasn’t disclosed the name of the telcos in the blog post it published Monday. The company said that until it resolves the issue, it is putting its domestic calling service on halt for all Indian users.

Ringo insists that its service is “fully legal,” and compliant with all aspects of the DoT (Department of Telecommunications), and Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regulations. The company also said that it will work with regulatory authorities to get the service unblocked. In the meanwhile, users can use Ringo app to make international calls.

“We will continue to persevere in providing innovative voice solutions, and intend to take relevant remedial action, but do not have an ETA on the same,” Ringo wrote. “As it stands, until we manage to get an intervention from relevant regulatory authorities to unblock our service, none of our domestic calls are going through.”

This wouldn’t be the first time a voice calling or instant messaging client may have irked telecom operators. Bharti Airtel earlier this year hiked its data tariff and said that it would charge separately for VoIP calls. What’s interesting about Ringo is that it doesn’t heavily rely on the Internet to make calls.

For a refresh, when a user attempts to call a person, instead of directly connecting to the recipient, Ringo acts as the intermediary, and calls that person and connects the user to that contact. For this reason, recipients don’t need to have the app installed on their handset, and voice calls work without a reliable data connection.

Ringo said that if it fails to resume its domestic calling service in the next 2-3 days, it will issue refunds to all affected users.

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