Recently, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum had announced that it intends to launch voice calling services in the first quarter of 2015, which would be completely free. With more than 600 million monthly active users, WhatsApp has already made a hole in telecom operator’s revenue.
On behalf of private telecom operators, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written a letter to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) raising concerns over Whatsapps plans to launch voice services over Internet services.
Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said to TRAI…
Companies offering OTT voice services, without holding a telecom license in India, would essentially violate and circumvent Indian telecom licensing provisions and provide services that are otherwise only permitted under a telecom license.
Whatsapp service currently has more than 600 million monthly active users in India,which is almost double the subscribers of Hike which comes at distant second position.
Telecom operators and OTT players have always been at wars globally, some more open than the rest. Whatsapp’s recent move to start calling services seems to have hit operators in India hard and they are frantically looking at ways to defend. While Airtel decided to silently charge differentially for VoIP causing a roar across the country, rest of the operators have knocked on the doors of the regulators.
One of the key points that the operators are missing or rather want to hide is that revenues from Data is and would be growing exponentially in the coming months. Operators are rather acting greedy and want to pocket the newer revenues along with the existing voice revenues.
If airtel is going to charge for VoIP apps separately, what will be the case for Viber, Yahoo messenger, Hang Out… all these work through wired broadband and Wireless.