Thumbs down for idea to curb free Net-based calls

Free-calling


Netizens across the Kingdom on Friday expressed concern over a possible ban on the use of free Internet calls saying millions of people around the world who use smartphone apps are dependent on the facility to keep in touch with their families and friends.

The reaction came in the wake of reports carried by local media saying that telecom companies operating in the Kingdom are planning to launch a collective effort to stop people making free Internet calls within the Kingdom or abroad.

The report cited loss of revenues by the telecom operators in the Kingdom as the reason behind the idea to put complete constraints on Internet calling within weeks.

Telecom regulating agencies have already stopped calling services provided by smartphone apps such as Viber and WhatsApp.

Reacting to the move under consideration by telecom operators, citizens and expatriates expressed concerns alike.

Zeyad Abdullah, a PR manager in Riyadh, said it’s not the loss of revenue but a marketing strategy by the telecom operators to earn greater profits by stopping Internet calling. “How can calls made from smartphones apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Tango, Nimbuz, Line, Imo, Yahoo and Facebook messenger be stopped as it is used worldwide by millions of people with online connectivity?” he added.

Arshad Ayub Khan, a schoolteacher, said the move is disheartening and everybody will be concerned. “Telecom operators instead should improve their services and avoid unnecessary promotions. They should stop cutting amounts from balance accounts for various services not required, for which one has to call the customer care asking it to stop undesired services,” he said.

Mohammad Arif, who is working in Dammam, said Skype and other similar services are also used worldwide for corporate video conferencing. People make their power point presentations to parties in other locations using such services.

Faisal H. a Riyadh-based IT expert, said the matter should be settled between service providers and telecom operators. “Free-call services are offered by various apps to beat their rivals in the market. A healthy competition is always good. Instead of curbing the free-call services, telecom operators should come up with more attractive packages. Millions of financially weak expats who can hardly afford their monthly Internet bills depend on these services.”


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