Both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have demanded that the Centre’s rules and regulations be uniform for all service types, including over-the-top (OTT) and mobile telephony, as the distinctions between them become more hazy and eventually collide.
Rahul Vatts, chief regulatory officer of Bharti Airtel, remarked during a panel discussion at the India Mobile Congress, “I think the telecom draught bill gives us the opportunity now to develop a new framework with a new architecture and start pulling ahead.” “I’m confident the regulator will strike a balance between business and innovation needs.”
The Center has broadened the scope of telecom services in the draught Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022, including OTT communication services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram as well as satellite communication services, internet, and broadband services. The telecom agency has circulated the document for input from stakeholders, and it’s possible that the plans may be finalised in the following six to eight months.
App developers, on the other hand, are adamantly opposed to being subject to telecom licence regulations, arguing that they are already covered by the IT Act and that additional regulation will discourage innovation.
The services provided by OTT communication applications, according to Bharti Airtel’s Vatts, are comparable to those provided by licenced operators. Therefore, he remarked, “I think it’s time that we address this policy imbalance and make sure that the playing field is level for all players.”