Former Vodafone India CEO and Managing Director Martin Pieters on Thursday said that over-the-top (OTT) players eating into revenues of telecom operators is ‘fatal’ for the industry.
“OTT is a serious worry. 85 per cent of revenue of operators in India comes from voice, if that goes away, its fatal,” he said.
He, however, added that as revenues were moving away to content and data from voice, operators need time to adjust.
“We are not denying the new reality (OTT innovations) but we are just saying give us some more time to adjust.
“This discussion needs to be pondered on. Should operators be worried, yes because this is a capital intensive industry...there is a stress to the balance sheet and threat to the revenues,” he added while speaking at an event organised by industry body COAI.
Meanwhile, clarifying operator’s stand of the issue of Net Neutrality, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal, “First and foremost, I want to clarify we believe that OTT services should not be licensed. Let me make that absolute clear. The reason we believe they should not be licensed is because the last thing we want is to stifle innovation that is happening in the OTT space.”
He added that growth of data services for operators was because of innovation happening in the OTT ecosystem.
“However, the only thing to nuances is that their basic voice services that are being offered all we are saying is subject everybody to same rules.
“For example, if someone makes a call over VoIP services, there is no way to know what is going on in that call. That is a national security threat as there is no way to lawfully intercept it...The key thing is to have a proper discourse. I think the discourse has to be objective and meaningful...” Mr. Vittal said.
COAI also appointed Idea Cellular Managing Director Himanshu Kapania as Chairman and Gopal Vittal as Vice-Chairman.