The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, last week in Lagos, said that fears being expressed that the Commission wants to start regulating over the top (OTT) services in the country are totally misplaced as the regulatory agency has no plans now or in the immediate future to regulate such services.
Speaking through Mr. Tony Ojobo at the Social Media Week, Danbatta explained that what may have given rise to the speculations is a document titled, An Overview of Provision of Over The Top (OTT) Services put on the Commission’s website by the Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis Department intended mainly to elevate discourse on this new genre of telecoms services occasioned by what the industry refers to as disruptive technology.
In his explanation, “OTT services are services carried over the networks, delivery value to customers, but without any carrier service provider being involved in planning, selling, provisioning, or servicing them, thereby implying that traditional telecos cannot directly earn revenue from such services. These over-the-top services include services such as Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, live streaming and other social media applications.”
Therefore, operators are complaining that services offered by Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype, Viber, among others are putting pressure on the revenue stream of traditional telecom service providers and there is outrage globally about the activities of these modern day service providers who have been accused of “eating the lunch of the traditional operators” as they (OTT service providers) make money out of the investment and sweat of others.
Addressing a gathering consisting mainly of youths, the type who from their look and dress sense, have no room for traditions and the hermetic strictures of yore, mostly the Facebook and Whatsapp denizens, Danbatta noted that as a responsible regulator, what the Commission wanted to achieve with the document was to elevate the level and quality of discourse.
Danbatta expressed satisfaction with the reactions to the document so far but advised that more attention should be paid to reading the complete document in order to come to full understanding of what the Commission is saying about OTT.
Reiterating his earlier position that the Commission has no plans to regulate OTT services, Danbatta noted that one salient point in the conclusion of the document is that while acknowledging the fears of traditional telecom service providers that traditional telephony and SMS revenues are under threat from newer, IP based alternatives like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, etc. the document also recommended that the Commission should encourage network providers in Nigeria to innovate and explore more efficient business models that would enable them compete favourably with OTT service providers.
FOR MORE STORIES VISIT CKN NEWS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS:
CKN NEWS Hotline: 08080054001
BBM : 2BE329DF