Stating that OTT internet-based apps such as WhatsApp, FaceBook, Instagram, Skype and Telegram threaten national security — telecom firms Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea have complained to TRAI.
The companies are seeking a regulatory framework and licencing regime for the internet-based companies, so that they comply with Indian laws.
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Airtel CEO Gopal Mittal, along with top executives from Jio, Vodafone idea, Tata Tele and BSNL, met with TRAI chairman PD Vaghela.
They claimed that while telecom firms are subject to strict regulations such as ‘lawful’ interception and licencing rules, the internet-based firms have no such checks despite accounting for the lion’s share of calls and messaging traffic.
They said that there are times due to blackouts and outages, services like WhatsApp are down but are not questioned or reprimanded. The telecom executives added that while telcos had to answer for quality of services, these internet-based apps are let off.
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They insinuated that apart from easy regulations, internet firms also eat into the revenue share of telcos which is impacting profitability and expansion plans.
Pointing out “threats to national security”, telcos said that OTT platforms are operating in “near regulatory vacuum” and have minimal laws to govern them.
The government has already faced issues with OTT platforms as in the past they have refused to divulge user data pertaining to criminal cases, when requested by law enforcement agencies.