TRAI to discuss with CEOs of telcos agenda for 2019

New Delhi, Nov 27 (PTI) Regulator Trai will meet top officials of telecom companies Wednesday to discuss the major issues that should be taken up for deliberation during 2019. Trai Chairman R S Sharma along with other senior officials will be present at the agenda-setting meeting with chief executives of telecom companies, two persons familiar with the development told PTI. The industry-wide discussion is now an annual affair and the priority areas for 2018, too, were drawn up through a prior discussion with industry players. A similar exercise is also expected to be held with broadcasting firms, although the date for that is yet to be finalised, a Trai official said. An industry source said the telecom operators could look for some clarity on the road map and timing for 5G auctions at the upcoming meeting. The industry -- which is not generating enough cash to even service loans -- may also rake up the issue of high levies such as spectrum usage charges. During this year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) came out with recommendations on a slew of prominent issues including spectrum auction and pricing, and framework for privacy, security and ownership of the data in the telecom sector, while consultation is currently underway to explore regulatory regime for over-the-top (OTT) players. Trai's latest consultation paper on OTT seeks public opinion on whether same rules should be prescribed for applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Google Duo, as are applicable on telecom operators. OTT refers to applications and services that are accessible over the Internet and ride on an operator's network. Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and Hike are some examples of popular and widely-used OTT services. PTI MBI HRS MKJ