Recently there had been some buzz about Skype and Whatsapp and other similar chatting applications becoming a paid-app service on the grounds that these services have significantly reduced the number of SMS people do per day which directly hampers the revenue of these telecomm companies.
But the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India have confirmed today that Whatsapp and other such apps will remain a free service on the grounds that while the number of SMS people send have significantly reduced, they were never a major source of revenue in the first place.
“We do understand that there is some (revenue) erosion there. For instance, our data confirms that the number of SMSes per person per month have fallen from 27 two years ago to about 17, ” a second senior official said.
“With that background, this particular discussion needs to be fair and frank, from the fair and frank, from the standpoint of providing equal competition.”
A top executive at an app maker said that if OTTPs “were forced to pay, in all probability the cost would be passed on to the users.” Trai recently held a seminar, bringing several OTT players faceto-face with operators, setting off speculation that this was a precursor to regulating the app space in India.
“One-third of the incremental revenue of the telecom industry is coming from data services itself. As far as the voice services are concerned, there is an upswing in the realisation rates,” one of the Trai officials told ET, explaining the rationale for not intervening for now.
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