WhatsApp and Skype under Trai scanner over 'imbalance'
Telecom regulator Trai will soon decide whether any regulatory imbalance exists between telecom players and over-the-top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp and Skype.
New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai will soon decide whether any regulatory imbalance exists between telecom players and over-the-top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp and Skype. On Monday, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued a consultation paper, ‘Regulatory Framework for Over The Top Communications Services’ to analyse and discuss changes that may be required in the current regulatory framework to govern these entities and the manner in which such changes should be effected.
It has been a long-standing demand of incumbent telecom services providers (TSPs) to bring over-the-top players under the ambit of regulation. DNA Money had reported on November 6 about Trai’s plans to come out with a consultation paper on OTT players this month.
The scope of the current consultation would revolve around regulatory issues and economic concerns pertaining to those OTT services that are same or similar to the services provided by telecom companies.
In the consultation paper, the telecom regulator has sought comments from the stakeholders on a host of issues.
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One of the points where the regulator has asked for comments is which over-the-top services should be regarded as the same or similar to those offered by telecom service operators and if “substitutability” should be the main criteria for comparison of regulatory or licensing rules applicable to telecom companies and OTT service providers.
“The objective of this consultation paper is to analyse and discuss the implications of the growth of OTTs, the relationship between OTT players and TSPs, the similarity, if any, between services provided by the TSPs and OTT players,” Trai said in a statement.
It also asked whether regulatory or licensing imbalance is impacting telecom network investments especially required for capacity expansions and technology upgradations, and how OTT service providers can participate in infusing investment in the telecom networks.
This article was first published in DNA Money: Trai to decide OTT control