Bharti Airtel Ltd plans to launch its own unified video conferencing service to tap the growing market for such platforms that already has players such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts and the latest JioMeet.
The telco will initially offer the product to startups and enterprises and will roll out the platform for regular customers after assessing the response, a source aware of the telco’s plans confirmed to Mint.
Bharti Airtel has declined to comment.
This follows the launch of rival Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd's video conferencing service JioMeet on 1 July, which is free to use. Though the platform has drawn flak on social media for being starkly similar to Zoom, it has started gaining popularity among government officials.
Niti Aayog chief executive officer (CEO) Amitabh Kant on Saturday said JioMeet is “better than Zoom" and lauded the platform for being safe. In a post on Twitter, Kant said, “Tried JioMeet video-conferencing. It’s easy & simple! Better than Zoom. Meetings are encrypted & password protected. Unlimited high-definition calls. All data in India. Emerges as a major technological disruption from India. Will go places in these challenging times."
NK Singh, chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, said the commission exploring to change over to Jio Meet and that he fully endorses the platform.
“I fully endorse and acclaim Jio Meet, which apart from the quality of the platform, is a primarily domestic effort which needs our support and recognition. The 15th Finance Commission is exploring to change over to Jio Meet for all its subsequent meetings and interactions," Singh said on Twitter on Sunday.
If launched, Airtel’s video conferencing service will also bolster Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s vision to create and develop domestic technology with the help of local startups and companies, and reduce dependency on foreign apps.
Telecom and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, last week, said India should become a hub for mobile and electronics manufacturing and create in-house apps to end its dependence on foreign origin apps that push "their own agenda".
The government, on 29 June, banned 59 Chinese apps, including Bytedance’s Tik Tok, Alibaba’s UC Browser, WeChat, Shareit and Mi Video by Xiaomi, a result of the rising tensions along the India-China border.
Last month, things had come to a head when troops form both sides engaged in violent clashes, which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel.
While announcing the ban, the government had said the apps "are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
The other apps which have been banned include UC News, Cam Scanner, Baidu Translate, We Meet, DU Privacy, WeSync, Swwet Selfie. It had said the move "will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace."