WhatsApp, Signal may not require licenses to operate in India: report
Over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Whatsapp, Signal and Facebook may not need licenses to operate in India. However, these platforms will have to focus more on user protection rules.
Preliminary discussions between government and industry stakeholders on the Telecommunications Bill have led to the understanding that user protection provisions in legislation must take priority, while discussions will continue on regulations. lightweight for these platforms offering communication services over the Internet, said a report by Livemint.
“What we understand now is that the (OTT) people are fine with regulations related to user protection…they didn’t want to have a license and that wasn’t our intention either” , said an official according to the report.
Another official familiar with the matter said the government was not looking to introduce heavy regulations on OTTs, but to ensure consumer protection and state security.
“We’re not going to levy license fees on OTTs; that was not the goal,” the official quoted the newspaper as saying.
Major telecom players such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have consistently called on the government to subject OTTs to licensing and therefore be required to pay the levies, charges and taxes currently levied. with operators.
Telecom operators have also urged the government to ensure that OTTs are mandated to comply with security requirements, lawful interception and other regulatory obligations.
A new, clearer definition of OTT communication services has also been requested by telecom operators in the new telecom bill.