Are you in favour of zero-rating plans? December 30, last date for posting comments on TRAI site

By December 10th, 2015 AT 3:59 PM

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new paper which questions the differential data pricing for content services, bringing to the fore the Net Neutrality debate once again.

trai-mobile

Although, the paper seeks fresh comments on data pricing but does not mention the term net neutrality. TRAI’s consultation paper titled, “Consultation Paper on Differential Pricing for Data Services,” focuses on the zero-rating platforms which are being offered by the telecom service providers. The last date for posting comments on the paper is December 30 and counter-comments are to be submitted by January 7.

The paper pointed out, “The objective of offering such schemes is claimed to be the desire of various service providers/content providers or platform providers to enable people of this country especially the poor to access certain content on the internet free of charge. There are a number of variations of these plans.”

However, the offers also enable the telcos to tie up with certain content providers and offer easy access to the latter’s services. Some of the questions raised in the paper are: Should the TSPs be allowed to have differential pricing for data usage for accessing different websites, applications or platforms? If differential pricing for data usage is permitted, what measures should be adopted to ensure that the principles of nondiscrimination, transparency, affordable internet access, competition and market entry and innovation are addressed?

The paper also mentions that even though the zero-rating platform will help make internet access easy but at the same time small content providers may get affected. “TSPs could even disincentivize access to certain websites by putting higher tariffs.”

Among other things, the paper intends to study the tariff plans that whether it promotes or harms competition.

Having over six years of experience in business journalism, Krishna has a knack for writing on telecom and IT. She believes that tryst with technology is the best thing that has ever happened to the mankind. Krishna is a telecom analyst with CMR

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Muhawid
Muhawid

Operators should be allowed to provide their own services for free.All other websites,apps and services should be charged at same rates.and they should be restricted from throttling speed of third party websites compared to access speed of their own services.

Sudhakar
Sudhakar

I support zero rating only for accessing operator’s app (my airtel, vodafone app etc) and for paying bills* and recharging*.

* means – paying bills via operators website and payment gateway ; as well as paying via third party sites like paytm, rechargeitnow etc.

sandeep
sandeep

Hi Sudhakar,

The regulations cannot be made for x,y sites.Once such a precedent is set telcos will find out many loopholes to do what they want and in our regulatory environment nobody will complain.And we may not be even able to think about the various methods they will come up with.
You may know how i think comcast(in US) is trying to overcome net neutrality regulation in the US by zero rating certain apps saying its not an internet but rather cable provider.This is just an example of the ingenious ways they can devise.

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