Dial-in numbers on video-calling apps could result in international call charges, telcos warn customers

Telcos warned customers that using dial-in numbers on video calling apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Blue Jeans can be expensive for them.
The development came after TRAI directed the telcos to do so.
TRAI received various complaints from customers who were inadvertently using the dial-in numbers on the video calling apps.

Dial-in numbers on video-calling apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Blue Jeans could cost customers as much as international call charges or ISD tariffs, telecom operators warned customers. This is because many times the dial-in numbers shared on these video apps are premium numbers or international numbers.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) directed the telecom operators to give a fair warning to customers about the dial-in numbers on the video-calling apps, a report by The Financial Express stated.

The move from the regulator comes after it previously received customer complaints about a surge in bills due to the inadvertent use of dial-in numbers on the video-calling apps.

Customers, unversed with the charging scheme use the dial-in numbers for meetings. There has been a surge in the usage of video calling apps at a time when most employees are getting familiar with the work-from-home culture in the backdrop of COVID 19. Sometimes users mindlessly click on the dial-in numbers only to be faced with ISD tariffs later.

TRAI previously advised users to “carefully check the terms and conditions before using dial-in service provided by online conferencing platforms and cost applicable for contacting the customer care center of such platform in terms of tariff for voice calls and other charges as may be applied by the service providers.”

Google has made its video conferencing service Google Meet and other products free for all users since April end. Users can use Google video calling service for free at least through September.

Google Meet will be available “to all users around the world, to enable people from all walks of life to communicate, collaborate and really stay in touch more effectively through the pandemic,” G Suite vice president Javier Soltaro had said in a statement. Google Meet had previously been reserved for subscribers to the premium G Suite software tools for businesses.

Zoom, too, made its end-to-end encrypted version free for all users. Formerly, it was only meant for enterprise users.

Facebook upped its video-calling game by launching Messenger Rooms for up to 50 participants with or without a Facebook or a Messenger account. Now, Facebook has brought in a new feature that will enable Messenger Room users to broadcast live on the platform. Moreover, users can now join the calls through Instagram or WhatsApp. The users joining the call do not necessarily need to have an account on Facebook to attend a video call on Messenger Rooms.