The gloves came off at the TRAI Open House discussion on regulating Mobile VAS, and despite the sedate start, VAS companies and mobile operators were clearly at loggerheads with each other. Some important points made: 1. No Network Neutrality of Indian Mobile Networks: Telecom operators block access to services and sites, and there is no unregulated access. The telecom operator decides, instead of being "just a pipe". Microsoft questioned the neutrality of the operator networks, saying that just like the ISPs don't block sites unless specified by CERT-IN, Microsoft believes that mobile operators should not block access. 2. Impact on different sets of VAS companies - -- On Deck: are VAS companies that provide white labeled vendor services to the carrier/telecom operator - using his infrastructure, branding and promotions. These include the likes of OnMobile Global, Bharti Telesoft, Cellebrum, One97, ValueFirst and others. -- Off Deck (or Direct to Consumer): are VAS companies that use carrier infrastructure and billing for their products and services, but the marketing and branding is independent of the mobile operators. For example - Indiatimes' 58888, Netcore's MyToday, Webaroo's SMS GupShup, Dada Mobile's in.dada.dj. Mobile Operators and their representative bodies - the COAI, AUSPI and others mentioned repeatedly that the issue of VAS is an internal agreement with a vendor, and TRAI should not get involved in commercial agreements or negotiations. Reliance Communications dismissed it as well, saying that "Negotiation is our right". However, the IAMAI and Atanu Mandal (President, ACL Wireless), said that On-Deck and…
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