The Internet and Mobile Association of India has expressed despair over the TRAI’s recent recommendations on Mobile VAS, specially on its recommendation of introducing licensing. In a media statement, the industry body has said that the recommendations are self-contradictory and defeat the purpose with which the consultation paper was published.

The association has specifically raised the issue of bringing the VAS industry under a licensing  regime, and has said that the TRAI’s recommendation of introducing a licensing would involve security and other compulsory compliances, and the cost involved would act as a disincentive to innovators and startups.

The IAMAI has also taken on the TRAI on its view that licensing would improve revenue share of VAS providers, and has said that the authority has not given any clarity on the issue, and that the stakeholders had never asked the TRAI to look into rate setting and revenue share fixing.

However, the IAMAI has lauded the TRAI for proposing the Short Code Council, an independent and centralised agency to distribute and manage short codes, and its recommendation for keeping out over the top(OTT) services excluded from the purview of recommendations. Over the top services are VAS products accessed through the Internet.

Note that MediaNama’s recommendations to the TRAI were for not licensing or registration of application services. We feel that it increases the influence and the role of the regulator in the ecosystem, and given that ASPs will require licensing, it creates an unnecessary barrier to entry. Though we welcome the introduction of the Short Code Council, we’re concerned that the additional bureaucratic process might inhibit the growth of an independent short code ecosystem.

Download our recommendations for an open ecosystem here.

TRAI Recommends Application Services Licensing, Common Short Codes; Issues