New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, the country's largest telecom operator by subscriber base, on Monday launched international video calling service for its 3G customers in the country.

The launch comes a month ahead of the deadline set by the government to put in place a monitoring mechanism for intercepting video calls on real-time basis.

Airtel 3G mobile customers in the country will now be able to leverage Airtel internet on 3G to make international video calls and interact face-to-face with their loved ones and colleagues living abroad - instantly sharing experiences and information, Airtel said in a statement.

"This marks the beginning of a new era of next generation communication in the country. One that will help mobile customers break the barrier of boundaries and instantly connect with their personal and business network across the world," Bharti Airtel President (Mobile Services) Atul Bindal said.

"We invite our three million-plus Airtel 3G customers to enjoy this exciting experience, he added.

Last year, the government had banned video calling services by telecom operators on security grounds.  The ban was later lifted subject to an undertaking by operators that they would provide interception capability by
July 31 this year.

Telecom operators offering NextGen 3G mobile services were asked to stop the services as security agencies were not able to intercept the video calls on real time basis.

 Airtel's international video calling is currently available for 227 international geographies.

An Airtel 3G customer in India can see and talk with his friends and relatives in the US, Canada, Bangladesh face to face through video call at Rs 14 per minute.

Video calls to the UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Oman are priced at Rs 20 per minute.

As a pre-requisite to make ISD video calls, both the caller and the called customer have to be on 3G network and have a front-camera in their 3G handset in their respective countries.