Offer Neutrality debate after Net neutrality? Airtel users discriminated by Paytm and Freecharge

By October 11th, 2015 AT 12:16 PM

Attractive offers in the form of cashbacks and discounts are one of the major perks of recharging prepaid numbers online. One of our readers, Yogesh brought a new discriminatory practice in the online recharge space to our notice.


Prominent online recharge portals Paytm and Freecharge are now explicitly stating that their generous cashback offers are not applicable to Airtel users.

Airtel users, Sorry!





Postpaid and DTH

Interestingly while Paytm has at least one offer for Airtel postpaid customers, Freecharge has nothing for Postpaid and even Airtel DTH users.

11102015_11:19:56 11102015_11:20:05

What could be the reason?

We approached Paytm and Freecharge for their comments through twitter on this new practice, but they haven’t responded yet to our queries. We believe there could be multiple reasons for this –

  1. A rigid commission structure from Airtel might leave less room for providers like Paytm to offer discounts or cashbacks
  2. Airtel might have asked these providers to refrain from offering benefits in order to drive customers to their own portal. This if successful would mean that Airtel need not pay commissions to third party portals. It may also be noted that Airtel also offers web-exclusive recharges.

Our Take

If this practice gains ground and is deemed successful, there is every likelihood that other telcos might take a similar approach to dissuade customers from heading over to third-party recharge portals. This in turn would mean lesser users and can thereby impact the bottom line of providers like Paytm and Freecharge.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

Xiaomi Set to Target Feature Phone Users in India

Xiaomi, the Beijing based electronics company is set to introduce an “very cost effective high-performance smartphone” targeting the Indian feature...

Infinix Zero 8i With 8GB RAM and 128GB Storage Launched in India, Price and Specifications

Infinix Zero 8i has just launched for the Indian market. The smartphone comes with a unique look at the rear...

Dish TV to Now Offer EPIC ON App to DishSMRT Hub and D2h Stream Android Box

Dish TV, one of the largest direct-to-home (DTH) operators of India has recently partnered with EPIC ON. EPIC ON is...