TRAI refuses to regulate OTT services like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI has reportedly rejected the highly unreasonable demand from telecom operators to ask companies owning apps like WhatsApp and Skype to share their revenues with them and the government. This comes as a major blow to network providers who are claiming to suffer from annual losses of around Rs 5000 crore due to non-regulation of such applications.

The furor erupted earlier this month when big telecom brands in India including Idea, Vodafone and Airtel demanded that TRAI ask the makers of WhatsApp and other OTT services to pay them part of their revenue because these apps are accessed through the Internet data provided by these operators. That’s apparently because in the current scenario, their income from SMS services has decreased a great deal.

TRAI Decision

But it seems the ridiculousness of this deal has been comprehended by TRAI, as it has completely rejected any talks on the matter. Sources have told The Economic Times that no consultation process will be started on this matter at all, owing to the fact that operators can offset their losses through growth in data revenue.

Also Read: Regulating WhatsApp, Skype is a dirty way to play, but Indian telcos don’t seem to care

This argument has brought to the fore the issue of net neutrality which is currently a major point of contention in the US. A regulation of services that use the data services provided by telecom operators will be sort of like strangling of Internet freedom itself.

This decision of TRAI hence comes as a welcome one, both for consumers as well as those offering data-dependent products like WhataApp and Skype.