In Nepal, VoIP Is Still a Racket

Voice over IP may have already become the worldwide standard for making international calls, but in Nepal the technology is considered a form of racketeering.

Map of Nepal

In a humorously exaggerated news story Friday, The Himalayan Times, an English-language daily newspaper in the South Asian country, reported on an “all-out police crackdown” against “VoIP racketeers” operating in and around the Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts in the southern part of the country.

Just who are these telephonic mobsters? It turns out they are service providers offering low-cost international VoIP calls, which continue to be illegal in the country.

According to the newspaper story, the “racketeers” are managing VoIP centers that have been “siphoning off huge amount of government revenue by tampering with international calls”. Some 34 VoIP centers have been “busted” leading to 70 arrests for participating in what would be viewed as healthy competition in most countries.

Nepal, with a population of about 30 million, is located in South Asia, bordered on the north by China, and on the south by India. Telephone service in country is provided primarily by two companies: the government-owned Nepal Telecom and privately-held United Telecom Limited, a consortium of three India-based telecom companies and Nepalese private investors.

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  • Jay OJ

    Humorous my foot! Please conduct a thorough research before making bold assumptions.

    The major telecommunication providers have been using VOIP to route calls to/from Nepal for years now. Providing/using VOIP in and of itself is not illegal in Nepal and does not constitute a “racket”. However, providing VOIP services (the kind originating or ending to a telephone number, not the free computer-to-computer Skype/GTalk kind) *without obtaining a government license*, hence bypassing the revenue system laid by the government, IS illegal. Similar to what it is in many other countries.

  • Thisisbinod

    Outbound VOIP is legal but inbound VOIP is still considered as illegal in Nepal. I guess they don’t really care for personal use of VOIP. They are only after those individuals who bypass mass number of inbound calls using VOIP technology and thus hurting the revenue of government controlled telecommunication.
    http://nepalien.blogspot.com/2010/07/voip-call-bypassing-in-nepal.html

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  • Doot

    poor article. They’re surely talking about SIM-boxing not “VoIP”

  • sanjay

    first of all children, we use the term “origination” and “termination”. what is it with all of you using “outbound” and “inbound”, if you are uninitiated then I guess it is what is to be expected, but if you are really uninitiated you should not be writing on a subject of which you have barely touched the surface.

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  • TalkAsiaVoip

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    Please beware of them.

    Thanks