The Broadband India Forum (BIF) has opposed the demand by telecom operators for over-the-top (OTT) players to pay charges for the use of telecom infrastructure. According to BIF, asking OTTs to pay for 5G network rollout costs in India would be unfair as they were not involved at the stage of spectrum auctions, selection of bands, bidding for airwaves or the selection of network infrastructure gear.

In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), BIF said that OTT players had no role while planning the network infrastructure. So, to expect them to post facto pay for the infrastructure which is designed, owned, deployed and controlled/managed by telcos is seemingly unfair. It argued that telcos should share their revenues with OTT platforms as they generate over 70 per cent of traffic for them.

Earlier, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that OTT communication service providers should pay a network usage charge to the telecom. Opposing this demand, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) called the revenue-sharing plan a “death knell” for the country’s digital economy.