Airtel, Idea Cellular, and Foundation Urges Trai to Set Same Data Protection Rules to OTT Players

Leading telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular today urged that forceful data protection terms which are applicable to them should also be made applicable to over-the-top players such as WhatsApp. Operators said that the terms should be applicable ‘equally and uniformly’ to OTT players.


Both the operators have given their response to Trai’s recent discussion paper on privacy, security, and ownership of data on the sector. Along with both the operators, COAI, the industry body COAI also raised its voice saying ‘same service same rules’ for stakeholders including OTT players.

OTT players are offering international voice calls for free, which has become a worry for telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular of late. When there’s no Wi-Fi connection, the OTT service applications rely on telecom operators internet connection to make and receive voice calls or even SMS.

“In this sector, customer privacy has three significant sources of vulnerabilities – device, network and content providers – and any law that limits its scope to telecom service providers alone will not be able to holistically address the issue of protection and privacy of personal data,” Bharti Airtel said.

“Telecom firms and the other players operating in the same internet ecosystem and dealing with same personal data are governed by different rules and regulations,” added Airtel.

The leading telecom operator also added that provision of data privacy and protection embedded in the licenses of telecom operators was robust and apt.

However, these rules do not apply to OTT players, content providers, device manufacturers, operating system providers, browsers. All these belong to internet ecosystem, but they’re out of such rules said Airtel.

“For example, while TSPs (telecom service providers) are not allowed to send the personal data of their customers outside India, there is no such prohibition/restriction on other players,” Airtel said in a written response to Trai.

Joining Airtel’s claims, India’s third largest telecom operator, Idea Cellular also added that OTT players who’re offering similar services operate in a “free, unregulated market environment.” Idea said that it OTT players should be urgently brought down under suitable framework that will match the norms followed by telecom operators.

Furthermore,, the Internet Freedom Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation termed the current data protection scheme as “inadequate and completely deficient,” when considered in the context of telecom subscribers.

“Given large amounts of personal data are transmitted through smartphones, in addition, the existing regulations, a comprehensive legislation needs to be made following the principles of the 9-judge bench judgement (Supreme Court) on the right to privacy,” it said.

Recently, the telecom regulator Trai has confirmed to release its recommendations on data privacy, security, and ownership by January 2018. It’s interesting to see how the regulator responds to these claims from telecom operators.

Reported By

Leave a Reply

26 Comments on "Airtel, Idea Cellular, and Foundation Urges Trai to Set Same Data Protection Rules to OTT Players"


Sort by:   newest | oldest
November 15, 2017 10:09 am 10:09 AM

Warning to the avoid :

I have lifetime paid VPN for 5 devices from keep solid. If you dare to make ott apps chargeable I will use VPN to break the rules. Mind it.

November 16, 2017 2:01 am 2:01 AM


November 15, 2017 5:28 pm 5:28 PM

At what cost??

November 15, 2017 8:56 pm 8:56 PM

Now : 150 US$ for lifetime + 25US$ totally for adding 5 devices.

When purchasing it was 100 US$.

November 15, 2017 7:48 am 7:48 AM

look whose concern about data privacy facebook is one of the member of savetheinternet facebook copy all your personal data and show ads accordingly. 1st block google who is biggest threat in data privacy.

November 15, 2017 10:36 am 10:36 AM

Yeah, but google doesn’t present your data to any third party.

November 15, 2017 6:47 am 6:47 AM

Warning to avoid group :

I have purchased keepsolid VPN for 5 devices with lifetime warranty. Dare to charge for OTT app calls?. I will use VPN and see who wins. In this case I have won in Dubai itself.

November 16, 2017 12:55 am 12:55 AM

Sudhakar vs. Airtel – Mortal Kombat!!!!

November 15, 2017 11:32 pm 11:32 PM

Correction : Lifetime validity.

Kirti Khurana
November 15, 2017 7:34 pm 7:34 PM

you’ve solution to every problem

November 15, 2017 11:31 pm 11:31 PM


November 15, 2017 10:28 pm 10:28 PM

You too!!!!!