Telecom operators have drawn ire of the Internet activists over the issue of Net Neutrality. Activists have slammed the operators for seeking regularisation of over-the-top services and VoIP calls. While most of the operators and operators body have called for a level playing field, MTS India is attempting to ride the pro net neutrality wave with its new data plans. Also Read - RCom, Aircel in merger talks for wireless businessAlso Read - MTS Sistema Shyam TeleServices Q3 net loss narrows to Rs 406 crore
Marketed as the Net Neutral plans, MTS is offering 5GB of data for Rs. 499 to prepaid customers. Postpaid customers can opt for rental plans that start at Rs. 599. It s worth pointing it out here that the new plans are like conventional data plans and can be used for normal browsing and streaming along with Internet calls. MTS, however, aims to use these new plans to encourage use of data of Internet calls. Also Read - Reliance Communications deal with Sistema can trigger similar consolidations: Analysts
According to Sandeep Yadav, Chief Marketing & Brand Officer MTS India, MTS India does not support any discrimination or preferential treatment when it comes to internet services. It is our belief that the freedom to access and use internet services the way a customer wants should rest with the customer himself. Our latest Anti-Zero Rating Plans allow customers the freedom to use data for internet calling if they wish to. Simply put, the Rs 499 plan which offers 5GB data will translate into 5000 minutes of internet calls.
MTS India’s new plans
With the new plans, MTS aims to distance itself from other operators who have long demanded regularisation of Over The Top services such as Skype, Viber etc. Citing loss due to these Internet-based services, the operators have sought a level-playing field in the market.
Earlier, Bharti Airtel had announced (later scrapped) a VoIP tariff plan. Airtel s tariff plan was considered as a violation of net neutrality in India. After flak from all corners, the operator had to withdraw the plan.
Meanwhile, the department of telecommunications has made efforts to create a balance between OTT players and telecom operators. A report presented by a panel set up by the DoT said that it supported core principles of Net Neutrality.
On the issue of VoIP it said: “In case of OTT VoIP international calling services, a liberal approach may be adopted. However, in case of domestic calls (local and national), communication services by TSPs and OTT communication services may be treated similarly from a regulatory angle for the present. The nature of regulatory similarity, the calibration of regulatory response and its phasing can be appropriately determined after public consultations and TRAI s recommendations to this effect.”
You can read full DoT report on Net Neutrality here.