TRAI To Form Revenue-Sharing Mechanism Between OTT And Telcos: Report The reports said that payments can be done directly telecom firms on mutually agreed terms

By Teena Jose

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Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has reportedly recapitulated that Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms should pay telcos for using their network.

According to media reports, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is trying to work out some form of a revenue-sharing mechanism between intermediaries (social media) like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, plus OTT players like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and the telecom service providers. One of the options being considered is that intermediaries and OTTs pay telcos a carriage charge.

Last week, TOI had reported that prominent telecom companies like Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea had complained to telecom regulator TRAI that popular OTT platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram and Skype are a threat to national security.

The discussions on these telcos carriage charges have been there for a while. In October 2022, as per reports stated that, data, particularly video, comprises 70% of the overall traffic flow on telecom networks, and this would grow further with the rollout of 5G services. With such growth of data/ video, telcos have to keep on increasing their carriage capacity and backhaul networks, which entails investments, and it has been felt they should be compensated for them.

In the recent development, the reports said that payments can be done directly by telecom firms on mutually agreed terms and in case a mutual agreement is not reached, an appropriate licensing and regulatory framework should be formed which analyses the contribution of OTT platforms in the ecosystem.

Furthermore, the department of telecommunications has urged TRAI to explore the possibilities of bringing OTTs under a regulatory regime for a level-playing field between them and the telecom operators. The draft Telecom Bill has also talked about bringing OTTs under regulation. The framework of the revenue share mechanism will reportedly be finalised after the telecom regulator comes out with a consultation paper on the subject.

In addition, the concept of carriage charge is currently applicable in the telecom sector as part interconnection usage charge (IUC), as well as, operators pay each other for points of interconnect, which connects calls between two operators.

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Teena Jose

News Desk Reporter with Entrepreneur India

Teena is a post graduate in financial journalism. She has an avid interest in content creation, digital media and fashion.

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