TRAI to reduce regulation for WhatsApp, Skype as data consumption on apps rise

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has determined to reduce regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) communication platforms such as WhatsApp and Skype as they drive data consumption on networks, reported Mint.

The rise in data consumption on Telecom networks due to such apps could also be a results of much less regulation on such platforms. TRAI will search views on regulating OTT gamers for the second time.

“We have reduced the scope of that paper. We have already issued recommendations on net neutrality and previously on differential pricing. Now, very few issues are left with respect to OTT. We have to look at regulatory imbalance (with respect to Telecom operators). But Telecom operators themselves are saying OTTs are helping data consumption,” a senior TRAI official advised the paper.

OTT refers to purposes and Companies which are accessible over the web and journey on operators’ networks.

Earlier, the Telecom operators had been pushing for a regulatory framework round OTT gamers as they noticed purposes like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber as opponents who had been chopping Telecom revenues within the voice name and messaging phase. They needed a degree play as, in contrast to these apps, the operators had been subjected to regulatory levies and licensing circumstances.

The operators now, nevertheless, appear to be content material as these purposes are driving data consumption on their networks.

“Operators are now happy that data consumption is happening through WhatsApp. WhatsApp calls ride on data and costs very little in terms of data usage. In any case, most Telecom operators are giving unlimited free voice calls. So the arbitrage opportunities are reducing day by day,” the official advised the paper.

In March 2015, it had floated a session paper on whether or not OTT gamers providing voice, messaging and video name Companies by way of purposes must be introduced below the licensing regime. The regulator has additionally sought data on whether or not OTT development was affecting the standard income stream of operators, amongst different points.

Back then, voice calls accounted for a comparatively bigger share of a Telecom operator’s income. While it nonetheless continues to be an vital income, operators at the moment are focusing extra on data. In the April-June interval, the common income per person (ARPU) from voice was Rs 73 for Idea cellular, whereas data ARPU was Rs 82. The rise in operator’s income stems from an elevated data utilization on account of those apps.

Some Telecom operators are nonetheless of the view {that a} degree enjoying area wants to be established.

“It is true the difficulty round income loss has decreased with most operators providing free voice calls. Operators do earn income from data being consumed, however in addition they have to make important investments of their networks to give you the chance to carry these large quantities of data. We need the identical service, similar rule. If these apps aren’t subjected to levies on income that they earn, then that ought to apply to us additionally. Apart from this, there must be a degree enjoying area when it comes to authorized enforcement,” Rajan Mathews, director basic, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), advised the paper.

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