Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper to determine whether Over-The-Top (OTT) services, such as WhatsApp and Skype, should be brought under the regulatory control. The consultation paper which is titled ‘Regulatory Framework for Over The Top Communications Services’ was released to the public through TRAI’s website.
The telecom regulator in the paper released stated, “The objective of this consultation paper is to analyse and discuss the implication of the growth of OTTs; the relationship between OTT players and TSPs; the similarity, if any, changes that may be required in the current regulatory framework to govern these entities; and the manner in which such changes should be effected.”
OTT services are those applications and services that are accessible over the Internet and work on an operator’s network. Some examples of the most prominent OTT services are Skype, Hike and WhatsApp.
TRAI has asked for the industry’s views on whether OTT services are similar to the services provided by telecom service providers (TSPs) and which OTT services should be regarded as the same or similar to those offered by telecom operators.
TRAI has asked the industry to give its views on various issues raised in the consultation paper by December 10, 2018, and counter comments by December 24, 2018.