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IAMAI opposes differential pricing

The Internet and Mobile association of India (IAMAI), which comprises members such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook, has opposed differential pricing in response to a consultation paper released by telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

tech Updated: Dec 30, 2015 17:49 IST
HT Correspondent
The Internet and Mobile association of India (IAMAI), which comprises members such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook, has opposed differential pricing in response to a consultation paper released by telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
The Internet and Mobile association of India (IAMAI), which comprises members such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook, has opposed differential pricing in response to a consultation paper released by telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

The Internet and Mobile association of India (IAMAI), which comprises members such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook, has opposed differntial pricing in response to a consultation paper released by telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Amid a raging debate over telecom firms offering discounted tariffs for accessing certain websites — called zero-rating — TRAI had issued a consultation paper, seeking comments on whether differential pricing should be allowed.

“In addition to being against net neutrality, the differential pricing models suggested by TRAI prima facie also violate the regulators own stated principles of intervening in pricing,” Subho Ray, president of IAMAI, said.

“Most of the models suggested by TRAI seem to violate one or all of these principles”, Ray added.

In addition to IAMAI, founders of Zomato, Paytm, GOQii, TrulyMadly and five others have jointly sent a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman, RS Sharma, endorsing their support for net neutrality, and calling for TRAI to issue clear regulations that prevent telecom or content providers “from acting as gate-keepers offering restricted Internet services instead of the open internet.”

The others include Metis Learning, Mouthshut.com, SVG Media, Teesort.com and FlipClass.com.

The meeting, organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) for its member companies, comes ahead of the December 30 deadline set by the regulator to submit comments on the consultation paper on differential pricing for data services. TRAI has given a deadline of January 7 for receiving counter comments.

However, TRAI has said it is looking to solve the issues “part-by-part” and also aiming to come up with the final guidelines based on the views received from different stakeholders, by early 2016.

“We expect to resolve some of the (issues pertaining to) the basic principles of net neutrality next year,” TRAI chairman R S Sharma told PTI in an interview.

As per the SavetheInternet forum, the net neutrality principle says that internet service providers should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks.

A debate on net neutrality stirred across the country after Airtel decided to charge separately for internet-based calls but withdrew it later after people protested. Internet activists and experts flayed the operator for ‘Airtel Zero’ service along with Facebook’s internet.org service, currently renamed ‘Free Basics’.