After the massive online protest over net neutrality on the weekend, and Flipkart finally announcing that it has pulled out of Airtel Zero, Airtel has finally broken its silence. The company has issued a statement in which it says that it supports net neutrality and that their new initiative ‘Airtel Zero’ has been ‘misunderstood’. Also Read - Best Airtel prepaid plans under Rs 500: High-speed data, free access to streaming services, and moreAlso Read - iPhone 12 for iPhone 11 launch price at Flipkart Big Saving Days sale, iPhone 12 Mini alse sees discount
The company says that Airtel Zero is merely ‘an open platform for content providers to provide toll free data services. The platform remains open to all companies who want to offer these toll free data services to their customers on a completely non discriminatory basis’. Also Read - Flipkart Big Saving Days sale begins for Plus members: Check top 5 deals on smartphones
The company says that Airtel Zero works on the same principle as 1-800 toll free voice services. It does not discriminate on which companies can use this platform, and is open to all. While this statement may be a long time coming, what Airtel fails to mention is the fee they will charge from companies to let users use that app or service for free. This will prove to be a huge disadvantage to startups who cannot afford to pay to Airtel for its toll free services. Even though the consumer benefits (which it may not in the future), the companies are still at loss. Big companies may not be burning holes in their pockets while signing up for Airtel Zero, but small companies might think twice before making its app toll-free.
Here’s Airtel’s full statement on net neutrality. Let us know what you think of Airtel’s stand:
Airtel fully supports the concept of Net Neutrality. There have been some misconceptions about our toll free data platform Airtel Zero. It is a not a tariff proposition but is an open marketing platform that
1. Allows any application or content provider to offer their service on a toll free basis to their customers who are on our network.
2. Such customers whether on a data pack or not will therefore be able to access these toll free services free of charge.
3. No site whether on the toll free platform or not under any circumstances is blocked, throttled or provided any form of preferential access.
4. The toll free platform is open to all content providers on a completely non discriminatory basis and operates on the same principle as 1-800 toll free voice services.
The statement made by Flipkart regarding their decision not to offer toll free data service to their customers is consistent with our stand that Airtel Zero is not a tariff proposition. It is merely an open platform for content providers to provide toll free data services. The platform remains open to all companies who want to offer these toll free data services to their customers on a completely non discriminatory basis.