Govt Says Whatsapp, Skype, Messenger & Other OTT Services Won’t Be Regulated; Telcos Oppose This Stand
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has now opined that this is not an appropriate time to suggest any comprehensive regulatory framework for the numerous aspects of OTT services.
The regulatory body has decided that there will be no regulatory intervention anytime soon.
Read on to find out all the details!
No Regulation Of OTTs In India: TRAI
After deciding that this is not a suitable time to impose any comprehensive regulatory framework on the OTT services, TRAI has also said that this issue can be looked into when there is more clarity about the international jurisdictions especially the study that is being done by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union).
In a statement, the TRAI said, “It is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed presently.”
OTT services include applications and services that can be accessed over the internet and can also ride on an operator’s network. Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, and Hike are a few of the popular and well-known examples of such OTT services.
TRAI Believes No Need For Regulatory Interventions; Would It Stifle Innovation?
The TRAI has also said that there is no need for regulatory interventions for issues related to privacy or any security of utility services for the OTT services.
The regulatory body also went on to state that they will be monitoring any developments and will intervene if necessary at an appropriate time.
Its been a long time now since the telecom companies in India have been asking for the OTT players to be looked over by the TRAI.
The primary reason behind this is that the OTT channels provide similar services, but without the attached licencing obligations, conditions and levies (such as licence fee).
However, OTT’s are against this believing that such regulation would put a hold on any new innovation.
COAI Condemns TRAI Over OTT Regulation
Meanwhile, The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has condemned TRAI over their stand on OTT regulation, vis-a-vis telecom service providers.
In a statement, Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, DG, COAI said, “COAI has diligently studied the recommendations issued by TRAI. The consultation paper issued by TRAI two years back had posed various important issues like Similarity and Substitutability of TSPs and OTT communication services, Regulatory Imbalance and Non-level playing field between TSPs and OTT communication service providers, Lawful Interception of OTT services and Access of Emergency Services from OTT etc. However, it appears none of these issues have been addressed by TRAI in their current recommendations. We were actually hopeful that TRAI would address and rectify these long pending market anomalies once for all.”
As per COAI, while OTTs are free to form their own rules and not follow the regulations, telcos are forced to follow all rules.
We will keep you updated as mor details come in.