According to industry sources, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) intends to regulate only over-the-top (OTT) communications applications like WhatsApp, Signal, Google Meet, Facetime and Telegram among others, and not the ones that offer content and e-commerce services, under the proposed Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022. Moreover, the regulation of OTT communication apps will be done considering the security perspective and not the revenue raising measures such as licence fees.
As per sources, any two-way communication between an app and its users may be regulated. For instance, an app will not need a license from DoT, but its customer support operations which involve calls and messages, may be regulated.
The DoT is expected to take a call around such considerations after the consultation process of the proposed bill. According to DoT, the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022 has been put up for public consultation to clarify the definition of ‘OTT communication services’. Apart from OTT, other issues or concerns raised by stakeholders will also be addressed.