DoT seeks Trai’s view to regulate internet calls and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal

The telecom ministry has asked sector regulator Trai for advice to prepare a framework to regulate internet calling and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Google Meet, etc., a government official said Wednesday.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) last week returned a 2008 Recommendation by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on internet telephony for review, asking the regulator of the sector to provide a comprehensive reference due to the change in technical environment amidst the emergence new technologies.

”Trai’s Internet telephony recommendation was not accepted by the DoT. The ministry has now obtained extensive internet telephony and over-the-top player credentials from Trai,” the official, who asked not to be named, told PTI.

Telecom operators have urged the government to apply the “same service, same rules” principle to the industry.

They have frequently demanded that internet calling and messaging apps pay the same level of license fees, which should comply with regulations on legal interception, quality of service, etc. that apply to telecom operators and internet service providers (ISPs).

In 2008, Trai had recommended that ISPs should allow the deployment of internet telephony including calls to regular telephone networks, but they would have to pay connection fees, install legitimate listening devices as required by security agencies, etc.

The issue was also raised by telecom operators in 2016-17 when the issue of net neutrality was debated by the regulator and government.

However, the government has not imposed any restrictions on the provision of calling and messaging services through apps.

However, the regulator eased the cost burden on telecom operators by getting rid of connection usage fees to bring their calling costs up to calling app levels.

IUC is a fee paid by a telecom company to another operator when its customers make voice calls to subscribers on the competing network.

However, calling and messaging apps have never had to pay such a fee.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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