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Jio, Airtel and Vi said pushing for regulation of OTT communication services in meeting with TRAI chief

Jio, Airtel and Vi said pushing for regulation of OTT communication services in meeting with TRAI chief

Jio, Airtel and Vi said pushing for regulation of OTT communication services in meeting with TRAI chief

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Telecom operators including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea made a strong plea for regulation of OTT communication players on Wednesday during a meeting with the head of TRAI, sources said.

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Sources said TRAI at the meeting also polled telecom operators about the upcoming review of Quality of Service (QoS) standards and regulations regarding nuisance calls (unsolicited commercial communications).

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had scheduled a meeting with telecom operators and ISPs to set the agenda for 2023 where players raised multiple questions. Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal, Vodafone Idea Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Director P Balaji and Reliance Jio Board Member Mahendra Nahata joined the discussions on Wednesday.

The meeting was chaired by the Head of TRAI, PD Vaghela.

Sources with knowledge of the meeting told PTI that telecom operators unanimously advocated for “same service, same rules”, arguing that OTT players who offer similar services to telecom operators should be regulated in the same way. manner.

The industry has long demanded a level playing field with communications OTTs, stressing that regulatory terms and licensing treatment must be made uniformly applicable for similarly placed players.

The industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has also highlighted the need to ensure a level playing field between all technologies i.e. same service, same rules with regards to communication services OTT, so that “fair and healthy” competition prevails in the industry.

In fact, late last year, the telecom carriers body even advocated for OTT (over-the-top) communications services to directly compensate telecom carriers for the data traffic they drive on the networks, as it advocated a licensing and lightweight regulatory framework. for such services.

In a briefing to reporters in November last year, COAI’s chief executive, SP Kochhar, said the association, as part of the telecommunications bill, had made its suggestions on how OTT communication services should be defined to avoid ambiguity.

OTT communication services include WhatsApp, Signal, Google Meet, Telegram and other similar apps.

Meanwhile, during the meeting with TRAI on Wednesday, telecom players also demanded a reduction in levies such as license fees.

During the meeting, a senior official from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) said telecom companies should be incentivized to use resourceful equipment, sources added.

According to sources, TRAI, for its part, has also informed telecommunications companies that it will review the regulations on quality of service and UCC.

Incidentally, the telecommunications regulator is to meet with telecom operators on February 17 to discuss measures and action plan to improve service quality, review standards, benchmarks for 5G services and unsolicited commercial communications.

The meeting later this week is significant as the improved quality of telecommunications services is sure to cheer mobile customers, irritated by dropped calls and patchy networks. It also comes at a time when ultra-high-speed 5G services are rolling out across the country.


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