As we have reported earlier that the telcos are demanding for some regulations for the OTT services like WhatsApp, Viber etc. The operators asked TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to look into the matter as these services are decreasing the revenues of the operators. However, as reported by ‘The Indian Express’ Rahul Khullar, Chairperson TRAI stated that, he is not very keen on proposing any regulation with regard to the OTT services.
Conversely, the regulator has acknowledged a consultation paper with regard to the same issue. Khullar said that, the consultation paper will test the ground to see how grave the problem is and it will only be released after preliminary discussions with all stakeholders. He also accepted that telcos have a “valid” concern regarding loss of revenue. Some days back TRAI has also conducted a seminar on the same issue so that they could formulate framework regarding the OTT services.
Earlier this year, a confidential white paper was released by the telecom industry which talks about the declining mobile revenues and increasing operator costs as more users turned to products like Skype, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. It also estimated that the telcos may lose $3.1 billion in SMS revenues by 2016 due to the emergence of social messaging apps. The paper also recommends that the operators can take up four ways to solve the issue. The four ways include, blocking these apps if regulators let them, adjusting their pricing to make apps less attractive, either by charging more for rival services that run on their networks or by making their own cheaper, or partnering with third-party apps.
TRAI has not yet proposed any regulations for these services and is taking time to actually understand the problem.