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Singapore Networks Warned Not to Charge for OTT Services

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Singapore's mobile networks will not be allowed to charge a fee to their customers who use OTT applications, at least not in the short term.

The telecoms regulator, the IDA confirmed that it is monitoring the situation following calls by SingTel to allow it to apply a fee for mobile data traffic that is routed to OTT services.

"ISPs are not allowed to adopt internet traffic management practices that will compromise IDA's Quality of Service standards for internet access or any anti-competitive discriminatory practice that would harm consumers' interest." the regulator said.

The regulator has however not entirely ruled out modifying its stance in the future, which will be based on how other countries react to the rise of the OTT services, and whether Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp changes the market.

"We are studying SingTel's and StarHub's plans to ensure IDA's policies are updated and continue to protect consumers' interests, while allowing market innovation," a spokesperson said. 

SingTel came under fire recently following remarks by the CEO that it might consider applying a charge for OTT services, or have to cut back on network upgrades if revenues fall. The company later posted a note denying it that it had any immediate plans to charge separately for OTT services. Of course, that leaves open the option for simply raising the cost of mobile data services across the board though.

StarHub is also said to be looking at options to offset the declining messaging revenue, and said that it is in talks with OTT providers.

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Tags: ida  ott  Singapore