Social network sites and instant messaging services are robbing telecom companies of revenue
GN Bureau | March 30, 2015
There is disconnect in the industry and the regulator seems to have realized it. With users bypassing regular revenue earning services like voice call and SMS, the telecom companies have reason to be disconnected with their subscribers who are increasingly using WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and many other services to connect.
Now, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has initiated the process to prepare framework for over-the-top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Skype and other similar services.
OTT refers to applications and services such as social networks, search engines and amateur video aggregation sites. Some such OTT sites apart from WhatsApp, Skype, Viber are: Chat On, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, Google Talk, Hike, Line, WeChat, Tango, Facebook Messenger and eCommerce sites.
Mobile subscribers can directly access these applications, using a variety of Internet-connected devices at no cost, resulting in telecom service providers losing out on SMS usage.
The OTT providers make use of the service providers’ infrastructure to reach customers, which not only helps them make money but also allows them to compete with traditional services offered by telecom service providers, the Trai consultation paper released last week said. The regulator has invited comments from the stakeholders by April 24 and counter comments by May 8.
Telecom operators have said that OTT players are eating up their main revenue without investing in networks.
"Worldwide, there is an ongoing debate among governments, industry and consumers regarding regulations of OTT services and net-neutrality,” the regulator said. In this background, Trai has released the consultation paper on regulatory framework for OTT services.
"It is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to know if there is an economic difference in connecting various networks via a landline phone, cell phone, or a computer."
"In fact, young users find it difficult to distinguish among these three networks; from their perspective, all that matters is connectivity," Trai said.
"They are also not involved in planning, selling, or enabling OTT apps. On the other hand, OTT providers make use of the TSPs' infrastructure to reach their customers and offer products/services that not only make money for them but also compete with the traditional services offered by TSPs," it added.
TRAI said telecom service providers offering fixed and mobile telephony are currently being overwhelmed by online content or OTT applications and services.
Yield gaps in wheat production in India can be countered with an earlier sowing date, says a University of Michigan researcher. Using a new way to measure wheat yields, Meha Jain, assistant professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, found that the wheat yie
Kharpariya village, about 50 km from the headquarters town of Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district, is like many villages in the region, home to the Baiga, deemed a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) for whom permanent contraception methods are banned to prevent extinction. However, care for p
Somabhai Modi says he remembers only one occasion when he offered his younger brother prime minister Narendra Modi advice regarding work. This, he says, was when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. After one of his weekly grievance redressal sessions, the then chief minister had enquired after the well-b
Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?
INS Kiltan, the third anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under project 28 (Kamorta class), was commissioned into the Indian Navy by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam. The anti-submarine warfare stealth corvet
Maharatna enterprise, Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) has supplied defence grade micro-alloyed grade of steel (DMR 249A) steel plates for the indigenously built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette INS-Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy. SAIL’s integ