Not the appropriate time to regulate OTT players: Trai secretary SK Gupta

SK Gupta, secretary of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said that it was not the appropriate time to regulate over the top (OTT) players, or appss, given that the situation is still developing worldwide.

“There is no need to intervene on the matter as of now. We are though open to future regulation as and when scenario emerges internationally,” Gupta told ET.

Phone companies have for years been clamouring for regulatory parity with such apps, saying they were free network riders that eroded their revenue by offering similar services for free without having to pay levies such as licence fees. App companies have opposed any move to be regulated, saying they are already governed under the IT Act and such a move would stifle innovation.

Following demands from telecom operators, Trai had originally come out with a discussion paper on regaling OTT players such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Google in March 2015. Subsequently, it started another consultation in November 2018 on whether regulating communication apps was necessary.

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