Trai debate on WhatsApp, Skype and instant messaging charges

Social network sites and instant messaging services are robbing telecom companies of revenue

GN Bureau | March 30, 2015

#Tango   #WeChat   #Line   #Hike   #Google Talk   #Kik   #Instagram   #Snapchat   #Viber Chat On   #Skype   #WhatsApp   #Facebook Messenger   #eCommerce   #Trai   #internet  

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.



Other News

Governance Now journalists win award for best TB reporting

Governance Now on Thursday bagged the REACH Media Awards for 2017-2018 for best reporting (English category) on tuberculosis (TB) at an event co-hosted by REACH, USAID and Lilly Global Health in partnership with the Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis. Our cover story

Simple facts about Special Status states

N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Friday parted ways from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the centre. The official quitting of the alliance was preceded by the pulling out of two ministers out of the Narendra Modi government, a week ago. The

Peak performance

What is Narendra Modi’s biggest electoral success during the current term as prime minister? At first blush, most would say the Uttar Pradesh victory. That would be looking at the obvious (UP is the heart of the Hindi heartland) and at mere numbers (it has the maximum Lok Sabha seats). Yes, it was a

On a dangerous tangent

The killing of a seven-year-old boy at Ryan International School, Gurgaon, suddenly brought focus on violence by students in school. It was a gruesome case indeed: On September 8 last year, Barun Chandra Thakur dropped his children, including seven-year-old Pradyuman, at school around 8 am. By the time he

Juvenile crime and punishment

Like our jails, our correction centres for juvenile offenders are hardly conducive to bringing about positive change. No one will dispute the fact that an underaged criminal, especially if he or she is a first-timer, needs to be given a chance to reform, however heinous the crime. Unfortunately, society&rs

If you’re happy and you know it...

Finland has emerged as the world’s happiest country, as per the World Happiness Report 2018. The report has ranked 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants. This year, the main focus of the report is on migration within and between countries.

Current Issue

Current Issue


CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter