How to regulate new services and apps, how to foster innovation and yet maintain a “level playing field” always are key issues in the telecommunications business, exemplified most clearly by the debates policymakers, app and service providers have had for decades over IP-based voice services.
In USA, mobile operators have argued that over the top voice and messaging apps are, in fact, full substitutes for traditional mobile voice and messaging, and therefore should be covered by the same rules as carrier voice and messaging.
The European Union, for its part, is considering mandating some security rules for WhatsApp, Skype and Apple Inc's FaceTime.
The proposed rules would increase levels of regulation for OTT apps.
Sometimes, aside from the sheer merits of regulating competitors, there are industrial policy issues as well.
“The proposal is part of a broader drive to level the playing field between European companies and mainly U.S. tech firms,” Reuters reports.