TRAI Wants Free Calls By Apps To Be Regulated Under A Framework
On one hand, internet telephony is eroding profits of telecom operators, the increased data consumption is adding to them.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI is right now examining and understanding the free calls made by messenger apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger.
Reports are emerging that a regulatory framework would be soon formed, which will monitor and examine these free calls.
Free Calls By Apps Should Be Same As Normal Calls?
In their observation, which seems being pushed by telecom operators, TRAI has said that free calls by messenger apps should be ‘routed’ the same way as normal calls are routed, and regulations would be soon announced regarding the same.
In fact, the same rules and regulations are now being proposed for international calls as well.
As per TRAI, if any international calls is made via messenger app, then the call should be routed via international gateway to the network where the call is made, so that the process follows the same route which a normal voice call makes, using telecom’s existing network.
In their report, TRAI said,
“In case the access provider is not able to ensure that Internet Telephony call originated outside of the country is coming through ILDO (international long distance operator) gateway, international out-roaming to internet telephony subscribers of the access provider should not be allowed.”
Note here, that the new regulation to be imposed by TRAI would be based on recommendations made by Department of Telecom or DoT on a suo moto basis, and, would be applicable to only those service providers or mobile virtual network operators (or MVNOs) which have valid licenses to offer telephony services.
And, here is the catch, because apps which are providing free calls don’t have such license.
Does this mean that these apps won’t be able to offer free calls now?
Internet Telephony: The Bone Of Contention
No doubt free calls from messengers have eroded profits of telecom operators, as users are now using these apps for making calls, but it has also increased data consumption of telecom users, which means more profits for telecom operators.
But the issue of Internet telephony has been the bone of contention for both, apps and telcos.
Besides, there are other issues as well, which needs attention and debate, as rightly pointed out by COAI.
Cellular Operators Association of India’s director general Rajan Mathews said,
“The subject of Internet Telephony involves important issues such as the need for an underlying access network, separate numbering series, interconnection, network security etc., which still need to be addressed,”
In 2015, TRAI proposed regulation of OTT players such as WhatsApp and other messengers, as it was eating away telecom operators’ revenues and profits. However, the regulation and framework never came, because Jio’s tsunami had arrived after a year, and things changed drastically.
We will keep you updated as receive more updates.