the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in a statement on Friday he said he was appalled by the regression and denigration of the discussion on regulation of the digital economy. Away from the government’s stated goal of creating a $1 trillion digital economy, parts of the telecom infrastructure industry have sought to reignite discussions that threaten to erase the progress the Indian tech industry has made so far.
Data released by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) shows that India’s digital economy has grown tremendously over the past decade, generating more than US$200 billion of economic value every year. An integral part of this growth has been the compartmentalization of the laws that regulate transportation and content. By regulating transport and content separately, India has enabled the growth of both OTT service providers and traditional telecom service providers. The rapid creation of India’s more than 100 unicorns is a testament to this phenomenon. Despite this astronomical growth that has allowed India to leapfrog and become a global hub for start-ups, the recently concluded consultation on the Telecommunications Bill reveals a deliberate misunderstanding or fundamental lack of understanding of how the digital economy.
An industry body representing the telecommunications infrastructure sector has advocated the creation of revenue sharing mechanisms for the ‘Over the Top’ (OTT) layer within the scope of the Telecommunications Bill. The implications of this movement would be as wide-ranging as it is devastating. Creating space for licensing provisions applicable to over-the-top service providers presents an existential threat to India’s start-up ecosystem by creating herculean barriers to entry. This would not only mean that would-be Indian startups that are still evolving and developing their business and monetization models will risk massive compliance costs in their infancy, but it would also mean that foreign investors bullish on Indian startups may experience a chilling effect due to the drastic political uncertainty.
Despite this, certain policy experts continue to propagate fantasies about equitable stakeholder contributions within the OTT layer, which would only seem to strengthen the control capabilities of the owners of the infrastructure layer on which OTT services operate. These changes would only establish additional sources of revenue for well-established sectors, leaving the startup ecosystem vulnerable to compliance costs, even when they may be pre-revenue.
IAMAI, in its letter to the Department of Transport, expressed serious concern about the impact of these changes on India’s start-up ecosystem and digital economy. IAMAI also sought to illustrate the success of the existing regulatory framework that has facilitated the creation of over 100 unicorns and over $200 billion of growth, achievements that have enabled India to dream of a $1 trillion digital economy.
With this in mind, IAMAI has recommended that the scope of telecommunication services be reviewed and limited to only those services that distribute the spectrum in a usable form. The time-tested distinction between the entities that control the telecom spectrum and the companies that use it must be maintained, as it has been the foundation that has enabled innovation and deeper penetration of the Internet in India.
Established in 2004, the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is a non-profit industry body and the country’s only organization representing the digital services industry with more than 400 Indian and multinational corporations as members, including established companies. in various sectors of the digital ecosystem as well as start-ups. Its mandate is to expand and improve the online and mobile value-added services sectors. It is dedicated to presenting a unified voice of the companies it represents to government, investors, consumers and other stakeholders. IAMAI represents various sectors, such as digital advertising, digital entertainment, TravelTech, online games, digital payments, Fintech, digital commerce, Edutech, Healthtech, Agritech, blockchain, Big data, ML, AI and IoT, AR/ VR, LogisticsTech, etc. . .
For any inquiries, please contact: Nilanjan Hajra, Associate Vice President. Email ID: [email protected] Mobile number 9163788318