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TRAI’s differential pricing policy violates net neutrality: IAMAI

IAMAI has come out strongly against the recent TRAI Consultation Paper titled “Consultation Paper on Differential Pricing”

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | December 31, 2015


Responding to a recent TRAI Consultation Paper deceptively titled “Consultation Paper on Differential Pricing”, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the largest representative body of internet companies in India, has said that the differential pricing violates not only principles of net neutrality but TRAI’s own stated principles of pricing.

The three models of differential pricing offered by TRAI are: (a) When the service provider selects the content, which is offered free or bundled together at reduced rates; (b) in which one content provider creates a platform where other content providers can apply, and be selected. The platform creator then partners with service provider(s) to provide free internet access to participating content providers, for the subscribers of those service providers; (c) in which operators charge differently for certain types of internet apps over others (on-network terminated calls).

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

Subho Ray Subho Ray

Commenting on the paper, IAMAI president, Dr Subho Ray, stated, “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. These principles as stated in the paper are non-discriminatory, transparent, non-anticompetitive, non-predatory, non-ambiguous and non-misleading. Most of the models suggested by TRAI seem to violate one or all of these principles.”

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. But it suggested that there were clearly other transparent and more effective ways of achieving that goal. Two of the main methods of connecting the unconnected, according the association, are: (a) investing in infrastructure for common access and (b) providing subsidized and non-discriminatory access directly to the consumers.

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