TRAI Says No To Regulate OTT Communication Applications


Despite the fact that telecom operators want new guidelines for OTT communication services (WhatsApp, Google Duo, FaceTime, Google Chat), TRAI said that these apps do not require any regulatory framework. The telecom players have been asking for regulations as these apps offer free voice and text services to the users.

TRAI Says No To Regulate OTT Communication Applications


"It is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed presently," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.

Besides, the telecom regulator said that no regulatory intervention is required for the privacy and security of these apps. Notably, there is no comment from Facebook, WhatsApp, and other apps on this matter. However, the Net Neutrality activists welcome the decision.

No Regulations On OTT Communication Services Will Hurt Telcos, Says COAI

Meanwhile, the COAI has shared that these communications apps will continue to affect the telecom operator business. "While TSPs have to abide by a strict regulatory and licensing framework, no regulatory/licensing framework is applicable on those OTT players who offer similar services. These OTT services are substitutable to services provided by TSPs, and hence a case of non-level playing field exists," said SP Kochhar, director general of COAI.

The COAI also pointed out that the telecom service providers will suffer if the issue has been not been resolved. The industry body said that the consultation paper issued in 2018 had raised several questions, but none of them has been addressed by the telecom regulator TRAI. He said that the telecom service providers are following all regulatory rules, then why it does not apply to OTT players as they (apps) offer calling benefits. Kochhar added that "The security issues, like lawful interception which the TSPs comply with, are not applicable on OTT service providers, which remains a threat to the national security."

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