IAMAI highlights willful misinterpretation & ill-conceived recommendations on draft telecom bill 

To reignite debates that threaten to undo the progress made by the tech industry thus far.


Mumbai: In a statement issued on Friday, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) expressed outrage at the regression and denigration of the debate over regulating the digital economy. Far from the government's stated goal of creating a trillion-dollar digital economy, the telecom infrastructure industry has attempted to reignite debates that threaten to undo the progress made by the Indian tech industry thus far.

According to data released by the union ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), India's digital economy has grown dramatically over the last decade, generating more than $200 billion in economic value each year.

Part of this expansion has been the compartmentalisation of legislation governing carriage and content. India has enabled the growth of both OTT and traditional telecommunications service providers by regulating carriage and content separately.

The rapid creation of India's 100+ unicorns exemplifies this phenomenon. Despite this meteoric rise that has propelled India to the forefront of the global start-up scene, the recently concluded consultation on the draft telecom bill reveals either a deliberate misinterpretation or a fundamental lack of understanding of how the digital economy operates.

An industry body representing the telecom infrastructure sector has championed the creation of revenue-sharing mechanisms for ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) layers within the ambit of the draft telecom bill.

The association claims that this decision would have far-reaching effects in addition to being disastrous. We pose an existential threat to India's startup environment by erecting impassable barriers to entry and allowing licensing rules to apply to over-the-top service providers. Foreign investors who are bullish on Indian start-ups may face a chilling effect as a result of the extreme policy uncertainty, which would mean that not only would aspirant Indian start-ups who are still developing and evolving their business and monetisation models face massive compliance costs in their early stages.

"Despite this, certain policy experts continue to propagate fantasies about equitable contributions from stakeholders within the OTT layer, which would only seem to strengthen the gatekeeping abilities of the owners of the infrastructural layer on which OTT services operate. These changes would only establish additional sources of revenues for well-established sectors while leaving the start-up ecosystem vulnerable to compliance costs even when they may be pre revenue," IAMAI said.

IAMAI, in its letter to the department of telecommunications, expressed grave concern about the impact of these changes on India’s start-up ecosystem and the digital economy. IAMAI also sought to illustrate the success of the extant regulatory framework, which facilitated the creation of 100+ unicorns and 200+ billion dollars of growth, achievements that have enabled India to dream of a one-trillion-dollar digital economy.

Considering this, IAMAI has recommended that the scope of telecommunications services be reviewed and limited to only those who distribute spectrum in a usable form. The time-tested distinction between telecom spectrum-controlling entities and spectrum-using companies should be maintained, as it has been the basis that has allowed innovation and deeper penetration of the internet in India.

Latest Reads

Sports sector receives its highest-ever budget allocation in history with an over 300 cr jump

Mumbai: The sports sector has received its highest-ever budget allocation in history. With an over Rs 300 crore jump, the sports sector has received Rs 3,397.32 crore allocation in the new FY 2023-24 Union Budget. The union finance minister presented the budget for 2023-24 at the parliament on 1...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Ormax Media launches annual all access plan called ‘Super Subscription’

Ormax Media, a media analytics company, has announced the launch of its annual all-access plan called ‘Super Subscription.’ The plan will allow Ormax Media’s business partners full access to all industry reports, data and trends.

iWorld Over The Top Services
‘Frasier’ reboot starts production with Kelsey Grammar

OTT platform Paramount+ has announced that the series Frasier, starring and executive produced by Kelsey Grammer, starts production this week.

iWorld Over The Top Services
MX Player’s Abhishek Joshi quits

MX Player SVoD (subscription business) & business partnerships SVP & business head Abhishek Joshi has reportedly resigned.

iWorld Over The Top Services
Trai seeks comments on its consultation paper on regulating converged digital technologies and services

Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday issued the consultation paper on "regulating converged digital technologies and services -enabling the convergence of carriage of broadcasting and telecommunication services." Over the period of time, various technological...

iWorld Telecom
Potential of WPL to garner a scalable viewership is an uphill task: Elara Capital

Mumbai: The BCCI has raked in Rs 4,669.99 crore from franchise bidders for the Women’s Premier League. Adani Sportsline forked out the most amount at Rs 1,289 crore. Three of the winning bidders also own IPL franchises - Royal Challengers Sports (owners of Royal Challengers Bangalore), JSW GMR...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Natak Pictures brings new web series ‘UNSORTED’ on Disney+Hotstar

Mumbai: Natak Pictures explores the emotional conflicts faced by today’s modern generation that constantly juggles between personal and professional life, with the release of its web show UNSORTED. The leading film studio premiered the web show on Disney+Hotstar on 27 January 2023 and is receiving...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Playflix to showcase Korean shown in regional languages

Mumbai: One Take Media Co’s OTT platform Playflix is on a roll, bringing blockbuster Korean shows back-to-back. OTMC’s Playflix app is now taking it a step further with regionalising its K-dramas. Playflix will now extend Korean dramas dubbed in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

iWorld Over The Top Services
Black White Orange appointed as exclusive licensing agent for Netflix India and South Asia

Mumbai: Black White Orange, one of India’s brand licensing & consulting agencies, has been chosen as Netflix’s exclusive licensing and merchandising agent in India and South Asia. Under the agreement, Black White Orange will manage brand consulting & licensing for Netflix’s expansive show...

iWorld Over The Top Services