The National Telecom Policy 2018 is a fantastic opportunity to work towards catapulting India amongst the top 50 nations in international rankings in terms of network readiness, communication systems, and services. Personally, we would like to see liberalization and encouragement of innovation as the overarching theme of NTP 2018. Here are a few of our expectations from the NTP 2018.
Work towards a no licensing model for services built on top of the telecom
We believe that the best way to boost innovation amongst OTT service providers and cloud telephony players is to do away with the bureaucracy of licensing. In small players and budding businesses, this serves as a serious deterrent. However, we understand that the move towards the “no licensing” model requires a serious shift in mindset. While we would like to see TRAI and the DoT working towards making this a reality, we understand that this is a long process. Meanwhile, we would like to see clear guidelines laid out for the licenses required for services built on top of telecom.
Encouraging innovation in the telecom sector
Currently, the scope of OSP has been expanded so wide that folks who do not offer it as a service may be forced to work under this license. But this is a very large umbrella that curbs rather than encourage growth. As a continuation of the above-mentioned point, we would like to see the DoT encourage small players and budding businesses in the telecom sector. We need to see more disruptions by emerging startups in this sector. Even if the innovations seem to contradict the current regulations, it has the possibility to become the seeds of understanding to the right kind regulatory framework for the growth in India. One way to ensure that this happens is to possibly have a target in terms of the number of startups/small businesses to be registered in the telecom sector. If licensing becomes simple, we will definitely see this happen. To make it easy for companies to innovate, we should also keep in mind that exit needs to simple for these startups in case the business model doesn’t work.
Convergence of voice, video, and text as a means of improving enterprise productivity
Can we facilitate an environment where voice, SMS, and video can seamlessly converge? In large organizations, meetings and catch ups which were only voice focussed is now moving to video. While this offers a much better experience, with India’s internet infrastructure, this is not the most reliable solution. What if someone can join a Google Hangout via a phone call in the case of the poor internet?
In the current scenario, this is only possible via an on-premise solution. It comes with a lot of baggage like high CAPEX, real estate occupancy, equipment-heavy etc. Cloud communication is the only solution to ensure that companies of all sizes can afford this. For large organizations, this is the best way to scale.
Given that we are planning for the future, we would like to submit that TRAI keep in mind the possible need for convergence amongst the above-mentioned media to ensure that the policies can boost innovation in this department as well.
Mobile numbers to be classified as sensitive information
With MNP in play now, mobile numbers are here to stay. People use their mobile numbers as their identities for most online and offline transactions. This definitely calls for classifying mobile phone numbers as sensitive information. The onus is on businesses to ensure that no customers’ phone number is only shared on a need know basis and is treated as secure information.
Access permission for apps to be monitored closely
A lot of apps are gaining access to a users’ SMS, microphone, call details, voice recordings, location information, without disclosing the right information to the customers who download them. All of the above information is of sensitive nature and can be used to build data about a person’s preferences, buying patterns and much more. Such information should be only be tracked or obtained after getting an explicit consent from the customer.
National security guidelines for OTT players
National security is of paramount importance. Given this fact, we would like to ensure that OTT service providers, including the likes of WhatsApp, be subject to the same security parameters as the network businesses.
This article originally appeared here.