Ethiopians are set to begin paying for VoIP services like Whatsapp and Viber to make calls after the country’s telcom monopoly Ethio Telecom implements a tool to control such services.
In an article published today in Addis Insight, the VoIP control tool will enable Ethio Telecom to charge for the over-the-top (OTT) services, in the article which quotes the firm’s CEO Andualem Admassie.
“Even though the services are not free since they require internet connection, Ethio telecom is not pleased with the amount of money they are losing as a result of people flocking to VoIP services like Viber and Whatsapp,” states Addis Insight, adding that the telco is also introducing Equipment Identity Register to ban the inflow of untaxed mobile phone apparatus that are mainly brought by people from overseas to their relatives and friends at home.
The Equipment Identity Register technology has the capability to not only shut-down one’s SIM card but is also capable of locking the device once it identifies it as not having been taxed.
“In the past few days there were mass blackout and service denial occurring on VoIP services that lasted for lots of hours in just one day alone. Which hints the ability of the telecom to affect the VoIP service without unplugging the internet access,” stated the article.
In mid last year, Ethio Telecom invited companies to submit bids for the provision of policy and charging control (PCC) and deep packet inspection solution (DPI), which was basically meant to enable the government-owned firm charge for VoIP services in the country.