Economy, Sci & Tech

Shatel VOIP Service Restored

Shatel VOIP Service RestoredShatel VOIP Service Restored

The recently disrupted Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service of Shatel, the privately-owned Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Iran, has been reconnected.

ShatelTalk, Iran’s first Internet-based telephone service, which  was blocked by the semi state-owned Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) has been reconnected, Tasnim News Agency reported.

Shatel was able to force TCI to back down in the dispute following support from the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology and the Communication Regulatory Authority (CRA),

The service was initially launched on December 26 and three days later without notice TCI barred Shatel subscribers from calling regular landline phones through Shatel’s VOIP service.

As TCI ignored early appeals from Shatel for reestablishment of the interconnection, the company went on the offensive and filed a complaint with CRA which functions as the ombudsman to the industry.

On January 7, Shatel released an official statement saying that  the CRA and the Telecoms Ministry had “solved the problem” and the cross-network service has been reestablished.

 Pushing Ahead

Along with the statement, Shatel’s billing system based on the call receiver was highlighted. According to the report, the charge for calling another Shatel subscriber is negligible -- 10 rials.

The company charges its users 22 rials for calling TCI numbers, which is less than half the price TCI charges its own subscribers – 45 rials for calling another TCI subscriber. The same goes for calling mobile phones via ShatelTalk.

It has not been determined how much TCI will charge for calling Shatel telephone numbers.

Shatel is one of several companies trying to offer VOIP and telephony services to domestic and commercial users. However, with others joining the competition it is highly likely that the companies will be forced to cut call tariffs.

Looking to the future, the case of Shatel vs. TCI holds potential for more new telecoms players to enter the market.

If both the CRA and the ministry continue to support a fair playing field, further deregulation may be announced this year.


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