Telecom companies have warned subscribers that the dial-in numbers for online video-calling or meeting applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams may attract international calling rates if toll-free numbers are not used.

Alerts were sent via SMS to customers after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) ordered that operators warn their subscribers that ISD rates will be charged for the international numbers in the dial-in features of these apps. Both Trai and telcos have received complaints of bill shock during the last few months as India Inc moved to the work-from-home mode amid the pandemic.

“If one logs in from the laptop/desktop and uses the built-in audio, it is fine but many are unaware of the international or premium numbers and are calling from their mobiles while they are latched on to the cellular network. They are therefore getting ISD charges for those calls,” said a telecom executive.

Over the last six months, India Inc has transitioned to video calling and meeting apps for its daily work. This has led to a surge in these app downloads and data usage.

To tap into the opportunity, Bharti Airtel along with US-based telecom operator Verizon recently launched videoconferencing service Blue Jeans. Just before that, rival Reliance Jio launched a videoconference app called Jio Meet, taking on popular competitors like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.


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