Telcos Say Same Service, Same Rules and Want OTT Platforms to Share Revenues

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has proposed a revenue-sharing model for the OTT communication platforms to operate. This is because the revenues of the OTT platforms are being generated because of the networks that the telcos are investing in. It has been proposed that the percentage of revenue that will go to the telcos from the OTT platforms can be discussed by the companies themselves.

Highlights

  • The telecom operators in India have been batting for 'same service, same rules'.
  • There are many OTT (over-the-top) communication platforms available for users in India that allow voice and video calling along with texting.
  • This is something that the telcos are having an issue with now.

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The telecom operators in India have been batting for 'same service, same rules'. There are many OTT (over-the-top) communication platforms available for users in India that allow voice and video calling along with texting. This is something that the telcos are having an issue with now. The telcos also offer the same services to consumers. But they have to pay statutory dues to the government and invest more in the networks to ensure that consumers get a good experience. However, the OTT communication platforms don't have to do any such thing. In fact, most of the traffic of the OTT platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, comes from the mobile networks of the telecom operators.




Thus, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has proposed a revenue-sharing model for the OTT communication platforms to operate. This is because the revenues of the OTT platforms are being generated because of the networks that the telcos are investing in. It has been proposed that the percentage of revenue that will go to the telcos from the OTT platforms can be discussed by the companies themselves. Note that this is the OTT content platforms, such as Netflix and Prime Video, that are being talked about. It is strictly the platforms that enable communication between the users in the same manner telcos do.

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But, of course, this is not something that the OTT players agree with. The tech industry has often shown its disinterest in the idea of sharing revenues with the telcos. In fact, a counter-argument can be made here, which is that the telcos see more data consumption by the users because they are using the services of OTT communication platforms.

The new telecom bill that is going to be proposed in the monsoon government is also going to include light-touch regulations of the OTT platforms. It would be interesting to see how the government goes ahead with the regulation of OTT platforms. The details would only be out once the bill is presented. For now, it is the telcos that want the OTT communication platforms to share revenues with them.

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