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July 25, 2010

VoIP call bypassing in Nepal

Before the advent of Internet, when someone from overseas wanted to call to Nepal the call came through Nepal Telecom's channel.  And that meant chunk of profit was made by Nepal Telecom Corporation (NTC).  Calling overseas from Nepal meant the same thing.  As much as 60% of NTC's revenue used to come from this source.

Then came the Voice Over Internet (VoIP) technology starting with services like Dialpad.  Consumers started to enjoy the cheap (sometimes FREE) way to call their loved ones using chat programs like Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Skype.  However, both parties needed to be online to do voice chat.  To call someone on their telephone set from Nepal, companies started to offer affordable (yet illegal) alternative totally bypassing NTC.  Finally Nepal Telecom Authority legalized outbound calls using VoIP few years back. Currently it costs Re. 1 (1.3 cents) /minute to call most countries including USA from Nepal.

However, it is still illegal to receive calls using VoIP and bypassing NTC.  But that doesn't mean lots of individuals are deterred from profiting by providing such service.  Local numbers show up on the telephone set while receiving calls from overseas.  What that means is someone in Nepal routes international calls received via Internet and forward using local phones (usually mobile).  Since it is much cheaper to make mobile-mobile calls (Rs. 2/minute with taxes) within country, the individuals/corporations doing this rake in lots of profit.  Currently it costs about $0.30 (Rs. 22)/minute to call from USA to Nepal using Skype if done legally.  With a price difference of Rs. 20 ($0.27) per minute, it is indeed a profitable yet risky business for folks.

Following news article describes how one telephone company Ncell is blocking 15,000 UTL numbers after it started receiving VOIP calls from some of them.
Article Link
Original article in Nepali
January 8, 2010 article about illegal VoIP calls

(Update: December 17, 2010)
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"Chowdhury is also suspected to be involved in the illegal business of International Telephone Call-Bypass through the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology. Reports said the Police Headquarters traced a VOIP centre near the residence of DPM Koirala at Mandhikhatar and the centre was moved to a different location after Sujata’s sleuths informed that a raid was being carried out."
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com/2010/12/17/top-story/revealed-chowdhurys-shady-side/326638/

(Update: December 25, 2010)
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"New findings of the ongoing investigation into a recent VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) racketeering case show how badly the call by-pass fraudsters could bleed Nepali Telecom service providers in connivance with latter´s staffers."
Source: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=26478

(Update: December 27, 2010)
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"Police have claimed both the technology and manpower required for bypassing incoming international calls came to Nepal from Bangladesh."
Sources: 
http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2010/dec/dec28/news01.php
http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=26565
http://www.ekantipur.com/2010/12/28/capital/bdeshis-in-voip-racket/327166/

4 comments:

Network Cabling Service  said...

People tend to misuse the advantages given by the Technology.people should not entertain such companies/Individuals who involve in this kind of illegal call routing.

Superman said...

I cannot believe someone so ignorant as you is writing a tech blog for Nepal.
VoIP is not illegal in Nepal. In fact NTC has its own VoIP service called EasyCall/EasyPhone.
VoIP licenses have been offered by the Nepal Telecom authority to many private companies e.g. Broad link.
It was illegal in the past but it changed along time ago.
The only reason Ncell is blocking the UTL numbers is becuase neither of them have bought the VoIP license.
STOP OVER EXAGGERATING THINGS.

nepalien said...

But the fact is there are individuals who are illegally bypassing international inbound calls.

Anonymous said...

Voip is legal for garib nepali janata.