OTT Players Must Pay Telcos for Using Their Network, COAI Says

Industry body Telecom Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has written to the government to set up a licensing and regulatory framework to charge ‘usage fees’ from major Internet-based calling and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Google. Duo.

In a letter to Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman last week, Cellular Operators Association of India Director General SP Kochhar said that charges can be limited based on network usage without the burden of over-the-top (OTT) players for small, medium and medium-sized players. part of the business.

The Ministry of Telecommunications has proposed to define OTT players that provide calls and messaging services as telephone service providers (TSPs).

COAI has said that OTT players should pay TSPs using telecom networks to provide their OTT services to customers in a fair and equitable manner equivalent to ‘Usage Fee’ on the basis of mutual agreement.

“There may be situations where OTT players and TSPs may not agree on ‘Usage Fee’. If no mutual agreement is reached, there should be a proper licensing framework and regulatory framework that governs the contribution of OTT players towards the agreement. network infrastructure development,” Kochhar said. .

He said that COAI’s intention is certainly not to discourage OTT services as they actually generate huge traffic on the network established by TSPs.

At the same time, these OTT providers continue to make huge direct and indirect profits at the expense of telecom operators.

“Therefore, we believe that these OTTs should reasonably compensate the TSPs for using the network established by the TSPs,” Kochhar said.

He said the European Commission (EU) is promoting the legalization of the relevant legislation for OTT players to share the network investment burden of telecom players in an equitable manner.

“The EU continues to express concern that there are large technology companies that generate a lot of data but do not invest in building infrastructure. The governments of France, Italy and Spain sent a joint paper to the Commission in August 2022, asking to speed up the development of a legislative proposal in this regard,” said Kochhar.

COAI said that TSPs will be receiving revenue from OTTs as part of their telecommunication services offering which will benefit the government in terms of higher license fee collection from telecommunications companies after the growing revenue of internet telephony and messaging applications.

The letter from COAI to DoT adds to the industry’s comments on the Draft Telecom Bill, Kochhar said.

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