TRAI to impose usage fee on WhatsApp and Viber
This is another idiotic statement by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, yes an idiotic move. Now they want WhatsApp and Viber to pay to telecom companies for connectivity charges. According to TRAI, telecom companies are losing revenues due to the increase of IM and free calling services like these. If they pay to telecom companies, they will earn revenues and ultimately, their will be a share of the TRAI in it. That's the new plan of the poor Govt. to beg for some money. According to TRAI, telecom companies in India lose about 5000 crores of revenue just because people are now mre focused in making calls and sending messages via these applications. And TRAI has also raised some security concerns as once registered, anyone can use a phone number on his WhatsApp and switch between networks easily. Well, thta's a good point.
"We may be asking them to put their servers in India as they get connected to any telecom network in India without getting themselves registered that is something which is also a security concern for us," said a senior Department of Telecommunications official. TRAI's plans are similar to recent moves by Internet service providers in the USA to lobby for the ability to set up Internet "fast lanes" and charge those companies able (if not willing) to pay more for priority (read: non-degraded) consumer experiences. Web startups and smaller companies would have a tough time surviving if they had to pay ISPs in order for consumers to be able to use them - regardless of the fact that ISPs are already being paid fees by users who should be able to use their bandwidth quotas in any way they like.
But the thinking of the Govt. of India is too old, then if we apply their logic, now BSNL should sue the mobile operators because due to the high increase in mobile usage the land-line market has been demolished completely. And some more things are not clear at all. Here are some points, I think are not clear:
- None of the telecom companies, nor TRAI mentioned the revenue that is earned from mobile data usage.
- Consumers are paying for internet to their operators, that means that can use the bandwidth in anyway they want. It's none of anyone's business. And WhatsApp users need to pay after one year of free usage, so if you have already paid. Who will now pay to telecom operator?
- Why is the Govt. is trying to stick to the old SMS and regretting over the revenue they lost due to the lack of usage of SMS?
If the Govt. believes in the growth in number of internet users, why are they opposing these services?
These services are way ahead of the old SMS, and they don't charges based on the number of messages you have sent. So, if the Govt. wants to regain some of the revenue, why don't they bring up a plan for unlimited SMS?
Some operators have bundled usage free with a particular plan, the best I found was from Relience, which charges you just Rs. 37 for free access to Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. MTS has also introduced a social plan which lets you browse your favorite social networking sites without paying a single penny.