Differential pricing violates net neutrality, says IAMAI

30 December 2015

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the largest representative body of internet companies in India, is of the opinion that differential pricing violates not only principles of net neutrality but the telecom regulator's principles of pricing.

''In addition to being against net neutrality, the differential pricing models suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) prima facie also violate the regulators own stated principles of intervening in pricing,'' said IAMAI president Subho Ray.

''These principles as stated in the paper are non-discriminatory, transparent, non-anti competitive, non-predatory, non-ambiguous and non-misleading. Most of the models suggested by TRAI seem to violate one or all of these principles,'' Ray added.

The three models of differential pricing offered by TRAI are when the service provider selects the content, which is offered free or bundled together at reduced rates and the second one in which one content provider creates a platform where other content providers can apply, and be selected. The platform creator then partners with service providers to provide free internet access to participating content providers, for the subscribers of those service providers.

The last model where operators charge differently for certain types of internet apps over others [on-network terminated calls].

According to the Association, all three models violate basic principles of net neutrality.

The industry body in its submission agreed that there was an urgent need to connect the billion unconnected people and narrow the digital and developmental divide.

Two of the main methods of connecting the unconnected, according the association are a) investing in infrastructure for common access and b) providing subsidised and non-discriminatory access directly to the consumers.

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