Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has launched the Video Telephony Service on broadband in Delhi and Mumbai. The service can be availed over existing MTNL connections to make high quality Video calls through MTNL’s landline or Fibre network. MTNL has partnered with Ahmedabad based ICT solutions provider Sai Infosystem (India) Limited for the video telephony service.

With the service, MTNL users can make video calls at Rs. 2.50 per minute or can subscribe to MTNL VVOIP plans starting from Rs 699 per month with 1000 free minutes. More plans available on MTNL’s website. Users can make audio and video calls from their existing MTNL connection to any landline, mobile or IP phone anywhere in the world (except India), according to a report by telecomtalk.

Features: The VVOIP service includes features such as Call Waiting, Call Waiting Caller ID, 3-Way Conferencing, Call Log, Video Phone Book, Off Hook Auto Dial, Auto Answer, Early Dial and Speed Dial, Redial, Volume Control, Visual Message / Voice-mail Indicator, Down-loadable Custom Music Ring Tones, Call Hold, Call Transfer, Do Not Disturb, Call Forward, Mute, Caller ID / Name Display or Block, among others.  Video Phones can also be connected to large screens like TV/Projector for Video Phones will work simultaneously with landline and broadband.

Note that BSNL had already launched its voice and video telephony service in 2011 and now covers states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, Goa, Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai), Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himanchal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and J&K.

Who will use it?

While the video telephony service would make it easier for non-tech savvy people to make video calls, it would require a minimum investment of a videophone. People are already used to making free video calls through VOIP services such as Skype, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger. These service are also available on mobile and since many people already own a mobile phone they do not have to make an additional investment for a video calling service. Telecom operators in India had also launched 3G video calling service with the launch of 3G, which has largely been unable to gain traction among smartphone users except for population with speech disability.

We don’t see the service being used in the consumer market, however, the enterprise market is a different story. It would be interesting to know how many users (other than enterprise) have made use of the BSNL’s video telephony service where it’s available.