Department of Telecom seeks TRAI's views on regulating services like WhatsApp, Google Meet

The DoT has asked TRAI for its views on regulating internet telephony and messaging services like WhatsApp, Telegram and Google Meet, and to come up with recommendations for a regulatory framework.


A recent report has revealed that the Department of Telecom (DoT) has approached the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and is seeking its views on regulating internet messaging and voice calling applications. 

Department of Telecom seeks TRAI's views on regulating services like WhatsApp, Google Meet

The exercise is being conducted to prepare a framework of regulations that would be directed at services like WhatsApp, Google Meet, Signal, Telegram and other similar apps and services.

For years, various telecom operators in India have asked TRAI to ensure that its rules for telcos are also applicable to these services that provide similar calling and messaging functionality. The telcos have argued that these services should pay licensing fees and be subject to the same rules relating to lawful interception, and quality of service.

TRAI had previously recommended that such services, which provide internet telephony and internet messaging, need not be regulated. This suggestion was not accepted by the DoT, after which the DoT sought a comprehensive reference on internet telephony and messaging service providers that allow users to make calls and send messages over the internet, according to a report by PTI citing an unnamed government official.

Last week, the DoT asked TRAI for new recommendations, in light of the changing environment with new technologies. At the time, TRAI had recommended that internet service providers (ISPs) could provide internet telephony for making calls on phone networks, if they paid interconnection charges, which have since been scrapped for telecom operators, and installed lawful interception equipment, as per the report.

The government is yet to officially announce any plans to regulate internet telephony and messaging service providers like WhatsApp, Google Meet and Signal.


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