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TRAI Free Data paper: Paytm to Hike, the responses from other companies

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jul 09, 2016 02:44 AM
Here's a look at responses of other players like Paytm, Hike Messenger, Nasscom, Centre for Internet Society to TRAI's paper.

This was published in the Indian Express on July 5, 2016.


While telecos are not too happy with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s proposal for TSP-agnostic platforms to provide free data, other companies and groups have also responded to the paper.

On May 19, TRAI released a consultation paper on how to provide free data for consumers and whether a TSP-agnostic platform was one possible solution. TRAI in its paper asked if it was possible to give out free data as rewards to customers, and whether such models should be regulated. Here’s a look at responses of other players like Paytm, Hike Messenger, Nasscom, Centre for Internet Society, etc to TRAI’s paper.

Mobile

Paytm has also issued an official response to TRAI’s paper.

Paytm

Paytm’s response indicates it views TSP-agnostic platforms for free data as being against the principles of Net Neutrality.

In the response Paytm has said, “Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) being the producers/owners of data have an undue advantage compared to others if award is provided in the form of free data. Award in the form of free data can be used to replicate the effect of zero cost of access for selected sites, an outcome that is against the principle of Net Neutrality.”

The company says free data won’t solve the problem and instead of giving data back as rewards, a neutral currency should be employed as an incentive.

Datawind

Tablet maker Datawind has also responded to the paper and said that a “TSP-agnostic platform as suggested in this consultation paper would benefit the ability of content providers and application providers in delivering affordable internet access.”

Datawind’s statement says breaking the affordability barrier is a key issue in increasing broadband adoption in India, and “this consultation-paper is an important step towards exploring such solutions.”

Hike Messenger

Hike Messenger has also argued in favour of a “TSP-agnostic platform” and say it can allow “start-ups like ours to purchase data in bulk that in turn we can use to make certain parts of the app free.”

The response reads, “TSP agnostic platform would allow data purchase from all TSPs in the market and have a very transparent approval process to ensure that no malicious apps abuse (similar to how the Google Play Store operates) and a pricing plan/rate card that would allow start-ups to purchase data potentially availing of discounts based on volume.”

It also favours some “light regulation should be employed” in case TRAI does adopt this model.

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