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    COAI side steps question about whether D2M would be a good alternative to streaming

    Dr. S.P Kochhar, the Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) during a recent symposium organized by The Centre for Digital Economy and Policy Research (C-DEP) commented that Direct-to-mobile (D2M) technology standards should not be forced as a mandate in response to our question about whether D2M would be a good alternative to video content going through telecom companies’ networks. Especially because telecom companies often speak of the pressure over-the-top (OTT) players put on their networks.

    Unlike streaming, D2M allows the transmission of video content to people’s mobile phones without an active internet connection. The government announced its plans to roll out this technology in January this year, to provide digital streaming to a big chunk of the population still using 3G services. The technology is also expected to reduce the stress on telecom networks resulting from India’s burgeoning mobile data consumption. COAI has previously suggested that the spectrum meant for D2M should be auctioned off and service providers should be allowed to use broadcasting capabilities (D2M) as per market requirements.

    “We have given our point of view that if the [D2M] standards were imposed-if the equipment were to be imposed, it should be put in an open basket and let us choose [how to use it]. And we have given our opinion to that extent. We have said that it should not be forced on as a mandate. But if it comes, and the government decides it has to come, it will come,” Kochhar said. While he spoke about COAI’s position on D2M, Kochhar failed to clarify whether D2M would be a good alternative to streaming.

    Some context:

    During the symposium, Kochhar spoke extensively about large traffic generators (LTGs) such as websites and applications, that garner the most traffic on the internet. He spoke of a white paper that the industry body had released to explain its stance on why these players should contribute to network costs. Its members, Reliance Jio Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have also made similar arguments previously.

    Interestingly, in a recent submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Jio admitted that cellular mobile networks have sufficient capacity to handle video traffic, adding that 80% of the traffic being handled by telecom companies is video traffic only. It also said that with the advent of 5G telcos, sufficient capacity has been built on their networks to handle video traffic even in worst-case scenarios (when all subscribers are simultaneously watching video content in good quality). As such, its submission backtracked on the argument that the telecom industry has been making to support the demand for “fair share”.

    What does the lack of clarification tell us?

    There appears to be a lack of congruence in COAI’s position on D2M technology and network usage fees. On the one hand, COAI’s emphasis on the need for OTT players to contribute to network costs due to the traffic burden they impose suggests a desire to alleviate the strain on telecom infrastructure. Contrastingly, when presented with D2M as a solution to network traffic, the industry body seems resistant to its mandatory implementation.

    Also read:

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    The post COAI side steps question about whether D2M would be a good alternative to streaming appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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