Assocham favours differential pricing for data services

Industry body Assocham has favoured differential pricing for data services as it will be ''in the consumer interest and is commonplace in the wider economy".

In its submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Assocham said operators should be able to offer consumers the services which best meet their needs, including those for self-care, updates and the like.

It said differentiated pricing also has societal benefits, ensuring communications and internet services are accessible, affordable and available.

The chamber further said differential pricing will also benefit smaller content providers and encourage innovation as it gives them the opportunity to compete and there is "no harm to them".

"There are many examples of challengers in the market, such as MetroPCS, Sprint and T-Mobile in the US, all of which have used differential pricing in order to compete with larger competitors," it added.

Assocham said differential prices are not anti-competitive and would ensure all the principles of non-discrimination, affordability and innovativeness along with encouraging investments.

Net neutrality activists continue to oppose any differential pricing regime, saying it would amount to curbs on freedom of choice to access the internet.

Trai has received 24 lakh comments on its consultation paper on differential pricing, an important aspect of Net neutrality principles.