TRAI to meet up with telecom, broadcasting company heads in December: Report

TRAI is believed to meet the telecom chiefs on 4 December, and broadcasting heads on 7 December.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will be meeting up with the chiefs of telecom companies in the country next month. This meeting will be aimed at discussing the agenda for the year 2019. This meeting will reportedly be followed up by another meet with the broadcasting firm heads in India.

According to a report by DNA Money, while the chiefs of telecom companies are expected to meet the telecom regulator on 4 December, the talks with the heads of broadcasting firms will be held a few days later on 7 December.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

Per the reports, these meeting will primarily focus on gauging “the situations impacting these sectors, see what could be done further to improve ease doing of business and discuss other existing policies that need a relook.”

There are also rumours that this meeting with the telecom heads may be aimed at initiating the process of auction of 5G spectrum in 2019.

Having said that, while Reliance Jio is apparently in favour of the 5G auction taking place next year, other telecom companies are under financial stress, and hence, aren't too keen on the same. Consequently, this meeting may suggest revision of spectrum prices that were quoted in the recent recommendation.

As for the broadcasting firms, with a complete shift in framework for TV industry after the apex court upheld TRAI's tariff order and interconnect regulations for pricing and packaging of TV channels. This means, in the coming year we may see the regulatory body exercising its power and monitoring channels and pricing their content.

According to a report in The Economic Times, this meet could also see the discussion of a consultation paper on the over-the-top (OTT) services and their regulation. Telcos want the OTT communication apps to also be brought under the same kind of regulatory regime as them as they offer comparable services. OTT apps makers have said that this would stifle innovation and pointed that apps are already under the regulation of the Information Technology Act.

TRAI chairman RS Sharma said that TRAI would be coming out with a consultation paper on OTT apps by next week.

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