TRAI’s Ban On Differential Pricing: Mobile Bills To Go Up

The Indian telecom regulator on Monday has issued a new regulation paper – ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’, which effectively backs Net Neutrality. This regulation on differential pricing also upsets ambitious plans of the telecom operators. Here are the 5 takeaways of the TRAI’s regulation.

Free Basics

End of Free Basics

This means “Anything on the internet cannot be differentiated (in price) on the basis of source, destination, content or application.” Henceforth services like Facebook’s Free Basics  or Airtel Zero where access to some websites and content provided for free will no longer be permitted.

End of Special Internet Packs

Telecom Service Providers are also prohibited from entering into arrangements that have the same effect as charging discriminatory tariffs on the basis of content.

Huge Penalty

TRAI will impose a ₹50,000-a-day penalty on the service provider if discriminatory tariff is charged, subject to a maximum of .

Mobile Bill

Mobile Bills to Go Up

According to one industry estimate, there are 30-40 such tariff plans in the market, which will have to be withdrawn to comply with the new TRAI regulation. This means mobile bills for some users could go up in the next few months as telecom operators withdraw special tariff plans

Silver Lining for Telcos

However, “Differential tariffs being offered for data transmitted over closed electronic communications networks, such as intranets are not prohibited by these regulations.” This may have left a window of opportunity for the telecom operators.

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