No Discriminatory Pricing on Any Internet App: TRAI
Net Neutrality is one of the reasons India loves Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI). Facebook Free Basics shuting down was a major win for the users in India and was supported by the Government as well.
In February this year, TRAI had banned discriminatory pricing, however this was majorly for service providers in India. Now, in a policy, even internet apps will come under the ambit of differential pricing laws. In that case, none of the applications can have discriminatory prices, unless they don’t have their service on the internet.
This means, all the applications which do not have an internet counterpart will be able to take advantage of the rules and regulations from TRAI. Exception is also provided to ‘Intranet’ services, if an only if the application is present in the intranet and not elsewhere.
“We have only kept Intranet outside our purview, not internet. The moment we describe this, we also describe the limitations of the intranet,” said an official from TRAI.
What it means for the people of India?
There are two ideologies that rise from this decision. Firstly, atleast applications on the internet will not be able to have differential pricing to its users and this is how it should be. If you want to use services, you pay the amount others are paying.
However, the second ideology is that since closed networks do not come under the law of differential pricing, it will allow the app developers and creators to price its services differently for its users. This will make other similar services seem irrelevant due to different pricing strategies and ultimately forming a monopoly, or duopoly at the max.
The TRAI doesn’t seem to budge from its decision, and claims that only the applications with internet counterparts only come under the purview of the rule. Internet activists are worrying that such a law which excludes ‘Intranet’ activities will defeat the purpose of Net Neutrality.
Imagine a telecom operator launching a closed network app for its subscribers, which allows you to browse through music collection at a certain price. That operator can further charge differential amounts to its customers, which will completely go against differential pricing.
What do you think about the latest decision from TRAI? Comment below and share your views.