Regulating OTT apps might become a non-issue: TRAI

News Oct 03, 2017 No Comments

The telecom supervisory body thinks that the controversial issue of regulating OTT (over-the-top) apps may become a non-issue, considering that apps such as Viber and WhatsApp, which permit users to conduct calls over the Internet, have attributed considerably to the data income of telecom companies.

App data consumption and the associated usage have increased from March 2015, when TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) floated a talk paper to assess whether OTT apps were contributing into the income streams of handset operators. On the other hand, with operators expected to begin providing voice services via apps in the coming time, the price arbitrage will be eliminated out of the equation and the problem might turn out to be hugely irrelevant, a sauce familiar with the topic claimed to the media.

Regulating OTT apps might become a non-issue: TRAI

“In the coming 1 year, voice will turn out to be an app riding over data. Hence, if WhatsApp can offer a call at 1 MB of 2 Minutes, why cannot a telecom company offer a 3 Minute or 2 Minute call for the same data. So, why there must be a price arbitrage? Telecom companies will be contended to battle with apps,” the source claimed, asking not to be named. Taking into considerations the developments from the discussion document was subjected in 2015, TRAI will now ask telecom companies on how to continue, whether the current document must be amended or an extra paper must be introduced out, the source claimed, including that the problem might be looked at once again.

Wireless data consumption of Internet in India increased to almost 1,300 Million GB a month after March 2015 when the figures were almost 100 Million GB a month, as per the Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2017 report.

TRAI is expected to take up this exercise after it subjects suggestions on net neutrality, a connected controversial problem that has been below discussion for over a year, stemming from the talks on regulating OTT bodies. Another source claimed that the regulator might also have to inspect whether it has the authority to control OTT apps that ride on the telecom companies’ networks.

Tushar Imade