No longer the Viber, Skype and WhatsApp users will be able to make free local calls. According to high level government committee on Net Neutrality which proposed that the calls through internet based services like Viber, Whatsapp and Skype shall follow the same regulations to be followed by other service providers. The new proposal has barred messaging and global calls will remain free as usual.
The development is seen as government initiative to offer level playing field to other telecom players who have expressed their concerns related to check free local calls to telecom major players. The government seems to have taken step to ensure high quality mobile services and inclusion of reliable telecom players.
The committee had given suggestion that these zero rating platform be treated on a case by case basis and its clearance is being sought from telecom regulator TRAI. This is going to open discrimination possibility in favor of established internet application providers. This will strengthen their prevalent position. It is to be noted that enhanced mobile networking will help it to grow and avail further inputs.
According to its report “The committee unhesitatingly recommends that the core principles of net neutrality must be adhered to.” And further it added, “Clearly, the debate on Net Neutrality is multi-dimensional and solution to this cannot therefore be uni-dimensional.”
The move is going to help prevailing monopolistic competition in the segment and further push to mobile telephony regulation. Indian net neutrality issues which had already hogged limelight are likely to offer further discussion boost.
TRAI has exercised its regulatory powers to put check on growing pressure in local call segment. It is to be noted that Skype, Viber and Whatsapp are providing their local calls services. Companies’ reaction to the proposal has yet to come.