The chairman of the Indian telecom regulatory body has made it clear that, the authority does not wish to intervene with regulating instant messaging apps and that the apps currently operate well within the rules, according to a recent report.
“It is the licensor (government) that has to take a call on any regulation. But the architecture is clear, the government will not let these VOIP-based operators enter the market through the licensed route. But as far as voice calls on Skype or Facebook — that is, one Facebook/WhatsApp user to another — are concerned, they are within the rules,” said Rahul Khullar, Chairman of TRAI (Via)
This comment comes days after a senior official of an Indian telecom operator had made a statement regarding the necessity of instant messaging apps also to be regulated like the telecom operators themselves.
During the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Bharti Airtel Joint MD and CEO Gopal Vittal had said that instant messaging applications like WhatsApp, Line and Skype should be regulated by the government like telecom firms.
Instant messaging apps have been eating into the SMS revenue of telecom companies for some time now. The Messaging app market has also been flooded with numerous such messaging app, each offering a different take on the service.
Messaging Apps And The Government
This is not the time first time messaging apps have come under the regulatory spotlight.
Earlier in June 2013, Chinese messaging app WeChat came under the Intelligence Bureau scanner due to security concerns about its Chinese origins.
Even Canadian mobile manufacturer Blackberry was warned of dire consequences by the Indian government, if the access to user data was not provided, following which Blackberry agreed to set up a server in Mumbai to avoid being banned.
Similarly market regulator SEBI was also concerned about the risks messaging apps pose for the financial markets, especially with the encoded pattern the messaging apps transmit the messages with, which make them difficult to track.