NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s telecommunications watchdog said on Monday that over-the-top (OTT) communications services currently do not require a regulatory framework, putting aside the threat of potential restrictions on platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Google.
Indian telecommunications companies have long pushed for the regulation of apps that offer free voice and text services over the Internet, arguing that these services are eroding their revenues.
Now is not the right time to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services known as OTT services, beyond the currently prescribed laws and regulations, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a statement.
TRAI also stated that no regulatory intervention is necessary on issues related to the privacy and security of OTT services.
Facebook, WhatsApp and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Net neutrality activists hailed TRAI’s decision, but telecommunications industry lobby group Cell Operators Association of India (COAI) said TRAI had not addressed problems such as regulatory imbalance and unfair conditions of competition between telecommunications service providers (TSPs) and OTT communication players.
Without addressing these issues, TSPs will continue to be at a disadvantage vis-à-vis OTT communications service providers, IBOC chief executive SP Kochhar said in a statement.
Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Edited by Steve Orlofsky
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