COAI Asks Govt to Ensure Level-Playing-Field Between Telcos and OTT Players in New Telecom Policy

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that the telecom policy, which is likely to come out in March 2018, should ensure equal policies for competing technologies.

The body’s Director General Rajan Mathews told media the new policy should also ensure level-playing-field between telcos and OTT or over-the-top players that offer to message and voice calling services. “Having equal policies for competing technologies would protect investments made by licensed mobile operators by ensuring regulatory predictability and consistency,” the body said, adding the new policy should bring OTT communication services under the licensing ambit just as mobile operators or else deregulate everyone.


“There should be a same-service-same-rules principle. If such players are deregulated, then deregulate us as well. If they are offering voice too, why is it that only mobile operators are paying levies like licence fee and spectrum charge?” Mathews said.

The COAI said that the new policy should also have permanent fixes for the financial health of the telecom sector.

The GSM body has also demanded reduction of spectrum usage charge to uniform 1 percent and lowering of Universal Service Obligation (used for rural roll out) contribution to 3 per cent.

The body, which has made its submissions on the new policy before the telecom department, has asked the government to ensure that there is no free allocation of spectrum, particularly below 1GHz bands.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that the government would bring out the draft of the new telecom policy by December-end. The newly appointed Telecom Secretary recently said that the Department of Telecom is in the process of setting up working groups. These working groups will help in the creation of the new policy.

The Indian government is planning to get views of all stakeholders, including the public in the contours of the new policy. Media reports suggest that the telecom department is planning to kick off a wide consultation and outreach before finalising the new policy.

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5 Comments on "COAI Asks Govt to Ensure Level-Playing-Field Between Telcos and OTT Players in New Telecom Policy"


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August 7, 2017 8:36 am 8:36 AM

Then COAI should take the incentive to make high speed internet free.
Internet charges & internet based app charges cannot co exist.

Ruchit Shah (Gujarat)
August 5, 2017 11:53 am 11:53 AM

COAI doesnt know that they are charging for services from customers and so license fees.. Moreover OTT players are not charging from customers.. Why is Avoid having problem? We are anyhow using their internet.. It was thier fault for forcing us to use whatsapp more because of costly sms and voice calls.. Looks like they still dont want to learn from their mistakes that data is the future.. They bettet concentrate in giving better data services rather than voice services..

August 4, 2017 11:55 pm 11:55 PM
COAI should be banned parmanently, they have gone mad. What level playing field. OTT work basing internet, without trying to be a internet backbone, this level playing shit is only to loose for ever. Now volte and jio itself a big head ache for avoid, this level playing against internet neutrality will kill the the purpose existence of telecos. They should grow up with new ideas like ATT buying time Warner. Instead If they want to selll per minute and internet per MB will cease the sole existence of telecos. People just stop paying and use services from internet. Dividing… Read more »