Telecommunication Situation Analysis

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Telecom players, Zero platforms and Net Neutrality
With the recent spat between the tri-party conflict between the telcos, OTT players and netzines, TRAI’s decision helped to save the consumer interest. The decision might appear to have gone in favor of customers but the real question is, will it really help the customers? This is so because the backbone of these services (telecom or data enabled) i.e. infrastructure, is provided by telcos, who have lost the most. This might ultimately result in higher data charges borne by customers.
Let us look at the challenges faced by telcos in the country:
• Stiff competition from OTT players – The basic offerings from a telecom company is rapidly getting replaced by free VoIP call and free app messaging
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COAI took the issue to TRAI stating that the OTT players and content providers are the ones that have the majority of the share in data traffic and they also provide free VoIP and messaging services which are eating into their revenue. From an OTT player perspective, this is what their job is. They work on the latest technologies and come up with innovation and disruption in various fields that can provide better services. For example WhatsApp has changed the way we message our friends. Earlier we would send SMSs or multimedia messages which were costly but WhatsApp has provided us a platform which is efficient and much economical than the traditional telecom services. Similarly the calling rates for international calls were very high but with the advent or skype or viber, international calling just cost us the data that is utilized in the…show more content…
They wanted to capitalize on the infrastructure that OTT players are utilizing and offering free services to make billions. This led to a huge outcry by internet activists where they expostulate that this will lead to a cartel formation between OTT players and telcos and lead to net discrimination. To give a simple example consider the case of DTH TV network. You have pay a minimum fee to view the basic channels, which nobody wants to see and on top of that if you want to see a good channel you’ll have to pay extra for it. Similarly the activists protest that this will lead to additional charges in addition to data charges for services like whatsapp and skype. The free platforms like Airtel zero and internet.org from facebook plus reliance also faced the wrath of public for discriminating internet and prioritizing net traffic to favor players that have a collaboration.
The report from TRAI “Consultation Paper for Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services” states that the telcos are making huge money on the data
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