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.

Comments

 

Other News

Lohani is new chairman of railway board

Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani was appointed the Chairman of Railway Board on Wednesday after incumbent AK Mital put in his papers. Mital tendered his resignation to railway minister Suresh Prabhu following two derailments in Uttar Pradesh.   Lohani, a 1980-batch office

Land swap proposal between AAI and MMRDA approved

 The government on Wednesday gave its approval for transfer of 40 acres of Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) land at Dahisar to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for its metro shed, swapping with 40 acres of Maharashtra government land at Gorai in Mumbai.  

Loss making Bharat Wagon and Engineering Co. to be shut

 Ministry of railways’ proposal of closing down Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company Limited (BWEL)  has been accepted by the cabinet committee on economic affairs, chaired by the prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.   A total of 626 employees of BWEL will b

Suresh Prabhu hints he wants to quit, Railway board chief resigns

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday dropped a hint that he has offered to resign while Chairman Railway Board AK Mital tendered his resignation following two major train accidents.   The resignation offers come just three days after three top railway officials were se

EESL becomes world’s largest street light company

 Around 30 lakh LED street lights, spread across 50,000 km of roads, have been installed across the country under the centre’s street lighting national programme (SLNP). With this, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under ministry of power, has become the world’s largest street lig

Soil Health Cards scheme moves at snail’s pace

An ambitious scheme to provide Soil Health Cards for 14 crore land holdings spread across the country seems to be moving at a painfully slow pace.   Prime minister Narendra Modi on August 21 reviewed the progress and he was informed that 16 States/UTs have completed the first



Video

Prabhu offer to resign

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter