Regulators

TRAI likely to come out with discussion paper on OTT services

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NEW DELHI: A discussion paper is likely to be issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) relating to Over The Top (OTT) services such as such as WhatsApp and Viber.

However, a TRAI official said that this would not be in the form of a consultation paper since TRAI at present cannot regulate OTT.

The official told indiantelevision.com that the major issue related to security threats and the direction these companies will take in the future. “We would also understand the concerns of telecom operators and consumers,” said the official.

One effect of the TRAI study could be the introduction of payment for the OTT services to save the telecom companies, but this will have to be balanced with the capacity of the customer to pay. If the OTTs do not pay the telcos, the messages will be delivered slower and videos will take longer to download.

The regulator will look into issues faced by telcos regarding usage of their bandwidth by OTT players and other internet companies without any share in revenue earned. Operators also have to spend periodically to upgrade the infrastructure to meet the growing data needs to consumers.

While security agencies can access telecom data such as messages and call records provided there is a court order, there are more problems in accessing internet services.

It is learnt that the government may ask its US counterpart to share the technology it uses to decrypt conversations happening over chat services like WhatsApp and Skype, if the companies do not cooperate.

Value Added Services (VAS) are being affected with certain mobile internet services including ringback tones, voice SMS, job alerts etc. The role of telecom player gets minimised as consumers shift to more web services.

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