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Advantages and Disadvantages of Calling Over the Internet Using OTT apps

The evolving telecommunication system has given unlimited opportunities to connect and communicate with people around the globe. A few decades ago, people had to ask operators to manually connect home phone lines to communicate with other people. But now, we can communicate with people around the world with the help of the internet. This is possible with VoIP (Voice over IP) calls in which we shall focus on OTT apps in this article.

The use of the internet for communication purposes increased sharply, mainly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the people stayed at their homes to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Several OTT apps and platforms are available to connect on the internet, such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Instagram, Viber, etc. This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of making calls over the internet using those OTT platforms by comparing it with Traditional voice calls.

You should not confuse this OTT calling with Illegal VoIP calls or even VoWiFi.

Advantages of Calling over the internet (OTT)

1. Group video call 

Group video call is not quite possible in the cellular phone without internet access. Though video call is possible from your phone using 3G, it won’t be as easy and cheap as it is on the OTT platform. No matter where you are, you can connect with people residing in another corner of the world over the internet. 

Group video call was highly in use during the lockdown period. People would conduct business meetings, online classes, online concerts, online learning sessions, webinars using various OTT apps, and work online. It was possible only because of the internet service. 

2. International calls 

Making international calls on the SIM card can be quite expensive and may not be reachable in different parts of the world. Such a problem may not exist on the OTT platform. Most of the OTT apps provide free international calls, but some may not. People can connect wherever in the world at any time on the OTT platform.

It is the same for all the calls whether the called person is residing abroad or in the same country. So you can save your mobile bills if you make calls using the internet over OTT apps. Making calls over the internet is always cheaper than traditional calls using your mobile number.

3. File, location sharing 

One of the benefits of the internet is that while you’re speaking with other people, you can share a file, send messages and emojis simultaneously. Similarly, you can share your location too. These features are not available in traditional voice calls. 

4. Secure calls 

The voice calls that we make from phones and landlines are vulnerable to Phone interception. In some countries, phone tapping is legal too. It means the government and telcos can tap the voice calls concerning national security, but this provision violates the right to privacy. Though our phone conversations are not secured, VoIP calls tapping is tricky and very difficult to achieve. So the internet calls are quite secure. 

5. No need for a SIM card 

To make cellular calls, you need a working SIM card, but you only need to download the OTT app to make calls over the internet. You can use both phone and laptop to make calls via OTT apps, whereas the SIM card operates only on phones. To make internet calls, you would only need an internet connection and the OTT app. 

Disadvantages of internet calling over OTT apps

1. Needs internet connection and person to be online 

The first and foremost thing that you need to make a VoIP call is internet service. You can make legacy voice calls at any time at any place. To make a VoIP call, we either need a Wifi connection or data pack on our phone that may not always be available.

Apart from the internet connection, the called person also need to be online on that particular OTT app. If you rely on this internet based calling only, you have to wait for that person to be online to make the communication.

2. Unwanted calls  

When you are using OTT apps, you appear online on the public platform making yourself available to everyone on the online platform. People have access to make calls to you whenever they want. 

If you are working online over something, you may get frequent irritating calls, which can even disturb your current work. As a result, you may receive unwanted calls and sometimes even from unknown people too. It is one of the most annoying things for internet calls. 

3. Slow internet connection distorts the quality of the internet call 

Internet reliability and internet speed have an impact on the quality of our calls. During peak hours, internet speed may also slow down due to increased internet traffic. It may cause a disturbance in the on-going internet call or even disconnect abruptly. In such a situation, you won’t be able to communicate effectively over the internet.

The unbearable call quality is the most annoying feature of internet-based calls via OTT apps. So, you need to have a reliable internet connection at home, by choosing the best ISP.

4. No Emergency calls 

In the absence of the internet, you cannot make emergency calls via OTT apps, and when you do not have sufficient balance. So when you are in an urgent situation, voice calls from your phone become the savior. The emergency calls are meant to be free on voice calls to Police, Ambulance, Fire, etc. So, you do not even need any balance on your phone to make such emergency calls.

5. Need smartphones or laptops 

VoIP calls are possible only in smartphones and laptops with such applications. You need such phones and laptops that support internet connection and have OTT apps installed. Most of the popular OTT apps are available with Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. So, you need to use such smartphones/computers to make VoIP calls. 

The above listed are some of the merits and demerits of making calls over the internet for customers. Whereas for a telco, the benefit of such VoIP calling over such apps is that it helps to offload the telecom infrastructure.

But at the same time, fewer voice calls from their network results in a decline in their revenue. As a large part of the telecom operator’s income is contributed by voice calls, the decrease in voice calls hampers the telco in a big way. Read for the reasons for the decline in revenue of Ntc, Ncell.

Despite the drawbacks, the internet calls have become an alternative to cellular calls due to its exceptional virtue. The use of the internet to communicate with people has only increased with time.

Do check out: VoWiFi: Voice over Wifi Technology Explained in details.

Tell us about your experience in making internet calls using OTT apps in the comment box below. Are they useful or not? 

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