The department of telecommunication is believed to have allowed sale of 'calling cards' for making domestic and international calls from any phone - a move that could bring tariffs down.
Calling card allows users to select an operator for making STD and ISD calls as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India last August.
The Telecom Commission, policy wing of DoT, is understood to have referred back another proposal for unrestricted Internet Telephony back to the regulator for more clarifications.
Full Internet Telephony would have allowed consumers to even use their laptop or PC to make long distance calls, significantly lowering call rates.
Mobile operators were lobbying for a rejection of the Trai proposal in this regard, anticipating adverse impact on their businesses.
A senior DoT official said the matter was referred to Trai seeking more clarity on a number of issues.
Trai had earlier recommended unrestricted domestic telephony. ISPAI, body for Internet Service Providers, said that the move by the government was 'anti-consumer.'
At present, a call from a computer could legally be made only to another computer within the country, and not to a phone. But the existing regime allows domestic users to make international calls to a phone from their computer.
Trai had earlier said introduction of calling-cards for making STD and ISD calls is the best alternative to the carrier selection code (choice of operators) as this would save cost, which can be spent on upgrading the networks of existing operators.
Using calling-cards will increase competition in the long-distance segment and, in turn, will benefit over 370 million subscribers, telecom analysts said.
This may bring down international calling-charges by up to 70 per cent, they added. DoT had constituted a committee of senior officials and those from its technical wing Telecom Engineering Consultant, and has forwarded its report to the Telecom Commission for approval.