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Not just startups, Big Tech firms also opposed to fair-share demand from telcos: COAI

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Not just startups, Big Tech firms also opposed to fair-share demand from telcos: COAI

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Not just home-grown startups, large traffic generators (LTGs) like Google have also opposed the proposal for a fair-share contribution for additional costs borne by telecom service providers (TSPs), industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said on Tuesday.

The TSPs have endlessly reiterated that smaller players, startups and MSMEs which generate low traffic would not be required to pay the fair-share charge, but only the top 4-5 LTGs which generate mammoth volumes of traffic would have to contribute, to share in the rising network costs.

“One must note that app stores are making huge revenues from the app developers and buyers/users of apps, and also by monetising the users’ data and through ads and other businesses,” Lt-Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI, said in a statement.

These LTGs, which are generally global corporates based in foreign countries, “are ready to evict non-paying small businesses as they expect the ‘immense value’ that their platform provides to the apps, themselves prefer to enjoy a free ride over the TSPs’ networks, while profiting heavily from them.”

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Moreover, said Kochhar, they continue to make misleading claims that the proposed fair-share would hurt the startups, MSMEs and smaller players and constrain innovation, “which is clearly contrary to the truth.”

The telecom providers carry their disproportionately-large traffic and provision the increasingly-demanding infrastructure required to deliver so.

“These global behemoths seem fully prepared to oust the home-grown Indian companies based on pure financial motive, with no regard for this vital ecosystem of players who bring innovation and entrepreneurship to the fore,” said the COAI.

Indian startup founders on Monday met Union IT and Telecom Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar to discuss the issue, and said that the government has assured them full support.

Last week, Google delisted about a dozen apps by major Indian digital companies including Matrimony and Shaadi.com, from the Play Store.

Some of the apps from these companies, however, are back after complying with new Google policies.

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–IANS

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