“Network is capital intensive, we have to pay for spectrum and voice revenue is coming down. At the same time, companies like Google, which have not invested more than a few billion dollars, are enjoying valuations that are ten times that of a traditional telecom player. It’s an unfair game. ..We are the ones investing in setting up data pipes and they make the money. There is interconnection for voice then why not for data,” mentions Jagbir Singh, Director, Network Services Group, Bharti Airtel (via).
Now that voice revenue is falling down, Airtel wants telecom regulator to impose interconnection charges for data services and have services like Google, Facebook pay for the data traffic (traffic from Facebook, Twitter and Google account for nearly 40% of its overall data traffic).
Hinting towards net neutrality issue? Well, airtel isn’t the only one. A study by Frost & Sullivan finds out that net neutrality has the potential to distort the parameters built into operator business cases in such a way as to increase the expected risk.
“In the presence of net neutrality, operators would likely reduce investment due to the increased risk. If operators maintained investment and simply recovered the costs associated with doing so from another source, those costs are ultimately borne by the consumer. An operator denied the opportunity to generate service revenue would be forced to adopt other methods for covering deployment costs: These could include simply passing along the costs to the consumer, creating service bundles that limit consumer choice or passing the cost along to content providers.”
To add to the data consumption, Internet video traffic in India is expected to be 67% of all consumer Internet traffic (by 2016) and the proliferation of non-PC devices will drive 31% of this traffic.
Airtel recently partnered with Opera to off co-branded browser, in order to reduce the data transfer cost using Opera Mini’s proxy-server-based technology.