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Industry body for telecom service providers, Cellular Operators Association of India, has clarified it has recommended regulations only for communication OTTs to the government, not for all OTTs that use mobile data to communicate with their customers such as Zomato, or Ola. However, it has called for being directly compensated by communication OTTs.
Alternatively, OTT Communication Service Providers can pay directly to the telcos for using their network (by way of an equivalent of network access charge) for the actual traffic carried by these OTTs on the telcos' networks, COAI Director General S P Kochhar said. However, he added that in future, the same principle of revenue share basis data consumption can be applied to all other OTTs.
COAI has stressed the OTTs ride on their network infrastructure without paying fees while also consuming humongous amounts of bandwidth.
It added the government's move to bring OTTs under the ambit of the Telecom Bill may lead to up to Rs. 800 crore worth of taxes collected from them, through a 8 per cent licensing fee. Since the TSPs will be receiving the revenue from OTTs as part of their Telecommunications.
In the recently released draf telecom bill, the Department of Telecom has extended the definition of telecommunication service to include OTT players such as WhatsApp, Signal, Zoom, Skype, Google, and Telegram, which provide (voice or video) calling and messaging services.
It quoted an Axios report to say studies have proven European telcos only earned 44 per cent of their potential annual general revenues due to OTTs loading their data and using services for free.
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First Published: Tue, November 22 2022. 21:35 IST