Thanks to a new leak, we are able to better understand a bit more about the EU’s plans to revamp the rules under which carriers operate inside the Union. Apparently, the Commission will take into account competition from Skype, Whatsapp and other such services.
The European Commission and other regulatory bodies are in the middle of revamping numerous laws and regulations regarding telecoms, Internet access and the digital single market across the European Union. And though much of that work is going on behind the scenes, Reuters managed to see a current proposal for the new regulation.
In the leaked documents, the Commission makes it clear that it will take into account competition to traditional telecoms, coming from Skype, WhatsApp and other services, that don’t play by the same rules as the carriers. For many years, companies have argued that such “over-the-top” competition is unfair and disincentivizes carriers from investing in new infrastructure because those competitors will also get to benefit from it without any cost.
Skype and WhatsApp are given as prime example of VOIP services that are disrupting the traditional carrier market but not playing by the same rules. For example, they don’t have to offer specified rates on certain calls, and don’t need to have emergency services available for users.
The new rules, which are expected to be implemented next year, will reportedly take all of this into consideration and hopefully make the markets a fairer system. However, there’s a big caveat here as telecoms have huge incentives to push for some of these changes and portraying services as competitors, even when oftentimes they’re not, can be highly detrimental to regular citizens.