COAI Wants Level Playing Field for Telcos and OTT Players

The telecom operators have to pay a licensing fee, heed the licensing norms and are under strict regulation from the government. While at the same time, the OTT communication players, on the back of the internet that telcos provide, are offering the same services as the telecom operators but are free of any sort of regulations or licensing norms.

Highlights

  • Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is pushing for a level playing field between telecom operators and the over-the-top (OTT) players.
  • In the telecom draft bill 2022, the govt had proposed bringing the OTT communication players under regulation.
  • The government has already had discussions with the OTT players.

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Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is pushing for a level playing field between telecom operators and the over-the-top (OTT) players. In the telecom draft bill 2022, the govt had proposed bringing the OTT communication players under regulation. The move was pegged to push user security as a priority. COAI, the industry body which represents the private telecom operators in the country, doesn't like the fact that there's not a level playing field for the telcos and OTT communication players.

The telecom operators have to pay a licensing fee, heed the licensing norms and are under strict regulation from the government. While at the same time, the OTT communication players, on the back of the internet that telcos provide, are offering the same services as the telecom operators but are free of any sort of regulations or licensing norms.

On October 26, 2022, COAI tweeted, "Commenting on #OTTs allocation under the ambit of new #TelecomBill, #COAI upholds 'Same Services, Same Rules' principle for fair, healthy competition & level playing field, urging #OTTs to invest & contribute towards the development of robust #digital #networks in India."

According to some reports online, the government has already had discussions with the OTT players and is willing to not bring regulations over them as long as they ensure that the user safety on their platform is top-notch.

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