TRAI is also reviewing OTT players and their boundaries as they drive data consumption on networks.
Over The Top or OTT calls have impacted the revenues of telephone companies especially their international calling facility, but the increase in data consumption has led to a tremendous growth in this segment.
According to TRAI (Telecom Authority of India), 3G and 4G data usage contributes 14 and 85 per cent respectively to the total data usage. However, the revenues for the telecos have been decreasing as WhatsApp calls and other OTTs are providing free voice calls.
COAI director-general Rajan S. Mathews said, “There was loss of revenue initially when operators were charging for the voice, and WhatsApp was being used to circumvent it, which caused loss of revenue. That loss could be mitigated because now operators are giving voice calls for free, but there is loss of revenue on international calling. It generates 15 to 20 per cent to the revenue of the operator.”
While networks are bound to respect the customers’ choice, the necessity for using WhatsApp for voice calls has slowly diminished. However, international calls are still not free on the telecom network, so WhatsApp is being used for international calls. WhatsApp calling needs access to internet data. The telecos can earn revenue by monetising this data demand even though internet data has now become affordable.
“The challenge is that the money we earn from data usage, may not fully reimburse the amount of bandwidth investment in the network,” Mr Mathews added.
Meanwhile, TRAI is also reviewing OTT players and their boundaries as they drive data consumption on networks. – Deccan Chronicle