OTT News In India

Government Considers Telecos Request for ‘Usage Fee’ from OTT Apps



Minister for Railways, Communications, and Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, made a statement on Tuesday regarding the request from telecom companies for OTT communication apps to pay a “usage fee” to operators. This statement is made by citing the high volume of traffic carried by operators on their networks for these apps.

Mr. Vaishnaw highlights that there is a worldwide conversation and movement surrounding over-the-top (OTT) apps, and regulatory changes are occurring globally. He emphasizes that the telecommunications industry is one where global benchmarks are vital, and any actions taken will align with global trends.

During a press conference held at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Mr. Vaishnaw acknowledged that India had won the prestigious GLOMO Award for Government Leadership, presented annually by the GSM Association to a country that has demonstrated exceptional leadership in establishing sound telecommunications regulatory policies. He attributed India’s success in winning the award to the government’s role in transforming the telecom sector.

According to Mr. Vaishnaw, the target of providing 5G technology coverage to a minimum of 200 districts was achieved before the promised deadline of March 31.

Mr. Vaishnaw discussed the Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022, which was made public for comments last year. He expressed the government’s desire to pass the bill during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, highlighting that it will bring about significant reforms. He added that the government is considering feedback from various stakeholders, including industry participants, and other regulators.

Mr. Vaishnaw also added that the government published a pre-consultation paper even before the first draft of the Bill was released. The initial draft was then created based on the feedback received from stakeholders. After receiving additional inputs, the government is working on a second draft (to be made public before being presented to Parliament).

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