Airtel India has been in the news recently, for unethically imposing extra charge for VOIP services in India. These services include, but not limited to, Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts, Hike, Line, among other OTT players. Airtel has currently made no statements for the change, but has reflected the change on their website stating that the change is in effect from 25th December 2015. Several telecom operators in India including Airtel previously asked TRAI to charge extra for these services, which was actively rejected by TRAI.
Airtel is now imposing premium rates on the VOIP services. Statement on the website says..
All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude VoIP (Both incoming/ Outgoing).
VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10KB (3G service) and 10p / 10KB (2G service).
This change will cost people ₹3,000 on 3G and ₹10,000 on 2G per GB of data transferred. By this move from Airtel India, a new protest has begun to enforce Net Neutrality in India. Net Neutrality is a principle by which the ISPs and Government should “treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”
How do I bypass this forced cost?
Surprisingly, it’s very easy to bypass this enforced cost. You just need make Airtel believe that you are actually browsing the internet. You can simple use a VPN on your device to bypass this enforcement. I personally recommend Hotspot Shield (free/paid), CyberGhost (free/paid) and VPN in Touch (free) but other options can be found with a simple search on Google Play.
Here’s a step by step guide to bypass this extra cost.
- Download any free/paid VPN application from the app store.
- Connect to the VPN by tapping the appropriate option in the app. Hit the “Connect” icon in VPN in Touch, or IO icon in CyberGhost, or Start in Hotspot Shield, or if you are use another application, tap the appropriate option.
- The app will connect you to their own server and direct all of your network traffic through a VPN Tunnel. This will make Airtel think you are just browsing the internet.
- All your apps will now direct data via this VPN tunnel, including VOIP services. There will be no effect on the apps, but Airtel won’t be able to track you VOIP usage.
- Disconnect the VPN when you are done.
That’s it! It’s as simple as that.