NT bleeds white, thanks to VOIP

Kathmandu, March 5:

Confused about international calls showing up as local numbers in your telephone set? Beware, it is an illegal act by gateway operators. Due to the illegal call bypass made in the incoming international calls through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), Nepal Telecom

(NT) — one of the main telecom service providers — is suffering an annual loss of

Rs one billion.

All incoming international calls to Nepal bypassing licenced operators international gateway and arriving on landline telephones or mobile phones are illegal or gray calls.

“We are getting cheated by these kind of illegal calls and due to which we are suffering a loss of Rs one billion per year,” said NT spokesperson Surendra Thike.

Authorised service providers in Nepal are NT, Spice Nepal, United Telecom Ltd and STM. There are provisions for calls with the use of Internet services at the household level but if one uses any of these service providers to make international calls, they are categorized as illegal and such an act is punishable by law.

“The activities regarding international calls through unauthorized bypass calls via private gateways are not only causing loss to NT but also to the government,” Thike informed.

According to him, illegal calls show the local numbers of the fly-by-night service providers and are also low in sound quality. Nowadays, complaints about such calls have become frequent.

To control these activities, NT has initiated different awareness programmes for its customers.

“If somebody gets an international call that displays a local number, they should immediately give that number to NT by calling at 188 or complain at 188@ntc.net.np,” Thike said.

He said NT was in dire need of support from its customers in such matters adding that with government support it was also trying to locate such illegal operators.

Talking about the action NT is taking against them, Thike said NT first blocks the blacklisted number and after the identification of the exact place, raids are conducted to seize the operator’s equipment. Afterwards, legal procedures are launched against the culprit.

VOIP is a new technology introduced about 10 years ago but which is now being used for making unauthorized international calls.

According to NT, if people are using wireless broadband internet through cable internet or antenna, then these services might be getting used in the international call bypass with the use of unauthorized VOIP.