The Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has called on the government to license and provide regulations for Over-the-Top (OTT) services in the country.
OTT services which could be messaging or voice/video calling are services provided over the Internet rather than solely over the provider’s own managed network. The user’s Internet Service Providers (ISP) or telecom operator is not involved in the supply of an OTT service, examples of which include Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, Netflix among others.
According to a report by Tribune, the association believes regulating OTT services — which are not part of the core services for which telecom operators are licensed — would bring in more money for the country.
ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo said the telecom regulator should no longer be neutral to technology regulation. He claimed that technology is driving telecoms markets and not services, and that lack of license put no limit to the scope of what technology can do.
OTT services are surely a threat to network operators but we can not rule out the fact that users need to have an active Internet subscription — provided by the ISPs and telcos — to be able to access these services.
And come to think of it, Nigerian telcos have data subscription options tailored specifically to some of these services. Needless to say, this is an attempt by the operators to have it all.