Indian Telecom regulator, TRAI has put out a consultation paper towards a regulatory framework on the Over-the-Top (OTT) voice and messaging services such as Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and Google Talk. The objective of the consultation is to analyse the implications of the growth of OTTs and form an overall guideline for the industry on how best OTT services can be regulated and managed. TRAI's exercise reflects the increasing pressure faced by telecom operators, in particular, mobile operators, who in recent years, have been challenged by the meteoric rise of OTT services, causing massive erosion in their traditional voice and SMS services.
According to TRAI, it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to know if there is an economic difference in connecting various networks via a landline phone, cell phone, or a computer. On the other hand, OTT providers make use of the service providers' infrastructure to reach their customers that not only makes money for them but also competes with the traditional services offered by service providers, TRAI added.