The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has informed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that there is no need for any type of tariff regulation for broadcast apps, as per media reports.
The broadcast apps include OTTs like Prime Video, Netflix along with live TV channels on OTT platforms.
With this, broadcasters like Star, Zee, among others, can continue to telecast their live TV channels for free on their OTT apps. Additionally, telecom operators also have the option to offer such live TV channels at no charge through their own apps, should they desire to do so.
According to media reports, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sent a reference to TRAI to examine the possibility of regulating communication-oriented OTT apps. Then it had also asked the I&B Ministry whether it was interested in subjecting entertainment-oriented OTT apps to any kind of tariff regulation. However, the ministry responded in the negative.
The I&B ministry’s refusal for tariff regulation for entertainment-related OTTs means that TRAI won’t be able to act on Bharti Airtel's complaint against Reliance Jio stating that the latter’s bundled fixed broadband plans offering 400-500 live TV channels are predatory.
In the meantime, Tata Sky has accused both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio of the same practice by offering live TV channels bundles with their broadband plans.
Presently, telecom operators, Direct-To-Home (DTH) and Cable TV operators are subject to tariff regulations, whereas their counterparts in the OTT industry are exempt.