TRAI telecommunications regulator issued long-awaited consultation on Monday to discuss the possibility of launching over-the-top (OTT) services, including WhatsApp and Skype. Debate sheet on the topic "Regulatory and Legal Framework for High Communication Services" is aimed at analyzing and discussing "the changes that can be made in the existing regulatory framework for the management of these entities and the procedure for making such changes". Said in a statement issued by the Indian supervisory body (TRAI).
OTT services include applications and services that are available on the Internet and can be accessed by the operator network. Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and Hike are some examples of popular and widely used OTT services.
The scope of TRAI's current consultations confirms that there are regulatory issues and economic problems with regard to "identical or similar" OTT services for services provided by telecommunications service providers (TSPs).
The regulator searched for the industry's viewpoints that the OTT services offered by communication operators were identical or similar, and if the replacement would be the main criteria for comparing the regulatory or licensing rules applicable to service providers and OSS providers.
He also asked for "telecommunication network investments" to "attract investment into telecommunication networks", in particular, to influence the "regulatory or licensing inequality" needed to enhance technology and improve the capacity.
"Interaction between OST services and their interactions enhances competitiveness and benefits to users," says the TRAI Consultation Sheet, asking stakeholders to take state action that can be used to promote competition.
TRAI also asked for the existence of issues in the OTT connection that should be resolved in the interests of national security and the need to clearly define the responsibilities of the RLS service providers and the RMS.
TRAI has asked whether there is an issue of "non-level playground", which has the same or similar service between TTP providers and TSPs, and asked for proposals to introduce regulatory or licensing norms for OSD service providers to correct such regulator imbalance.
India's telecommunications companies have long been obliged to require OTT players within the regulatory framework, as they offer similar services, with no license fees, terms and fees (such as license fees). In addition, telecom operators should strictly adhere to service quality indicators and invest in networks and infrastructure.
However, OTTs argue that the regulatory regime for them stops innovations.
"The purpose of this meeting is to analyze the consequences of RPG growth, to analyze the relationships between the players of the RTD and the RTA, and to analyze the similarities between the players of the RLS and the RTA …", – said TRIA.
At the time of contact, the COAI industrial body was in the process of reviewing the consultative document. Director General of the Association of Cellular Communication Operators in India (COAI), Radjan Mathew, said in an interview with PTI that the association will come up with detailed answers within a few days after discussing the nuances of the RAT consultant.
The final step of TRAI has been asked for a COAI discount, which indicates the absence of a level playing field between OTTs and TSP; Matthews considers the consultative document useful, and "this is a fair solution" as it requires the same service.
TRAI has asked the industry's opinion on various issues raised in the consultation document until December 10, 2018, and its response to December 24, 2018.