In order to develop a framework for regulating internet calling and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Google Meet, and others, the department of telecom has requested input from the industry regulator Trai, a government official said on Wednesday.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a recommendation on internet telephony in 2008, which the Department of Telecom (DoT) sent back last week for review. The DoT has asked the sector regulator to develop a comprehensive reference due to the change in the technical environment brought on by the emergence of new technologies.
“The DoT rejected the TRAI’s recommendation for Internet telephony. The Department has now asked TRAI for a thorough reference of over-the-top players and internet telephony “The official, who wished to remain unnamed, spoke to PTI.
The government has been urged by telecom providers to adopt the “same service, same rules” tenet to the sector.
They frequently demand that internet messaging and calling services pay the same amount of licence fees and abide by the same quality of service, lawful interception, and other regulations that apply to telecom operators and internet service providers (ISPs).
ISPs should be permitted to offer internet telephony services, including calls on traditional telephone networks, according to a TRAI recommendation from 2008. However, they will need to pay interconnection fees and install legal equipment for interceptions at the request of security agencies, among other requirements.
When the government and the regulator were discussing net neutrality in 2016–17, telecom operators also brought up the matter.
The government did not place any limitations on the phone and text services offered by apps, nevertheless.However, the regulator reduced telecom operators’ costs by eliminating interconnect usage fees, bringing their calling rates on par with those of calling applications.
When a telco’s consumers make voice calls to users of a competing network, the competing operator gets charged an IUC. Calling and texting apps, however, were exempt from any such fees.