Sunday, April 12, 2015

Airtel: The Internet, with Our Airtel Zero, is Neutral

Last week Bharti Airtel announced the "launch of ‘Airtel Zero’ – an open marketing platform that will allow customers to access mobile applications at zero data charges. Akin to the established concept of toll-free voice calling, ‘Airtel Zero’ will allow everyone from big marketers to small-time application developers to make parts or their entire mobile app free for customers – thus reviving interest of dormant customers, attracting new potential users and increasing retention. 

The platform will be a big win for customers as it will allow them to access their favourite mobile applications at no data charges, and also encourage them to try out new applications .. We invite all application developers to register their interest in ‘Airtel Zero’ and see the compelling reach it can deliver to Airtel’s 200 million plus customers across India".

The new service raised Net Neutrality concerns in India. The Hindu reports (see "Net neutrality: Airtel defends data pricing" - here) that Bharti Airtel chief for strategy Shyam Mardikar [pictured] said that "an operator has a right to maximise its revenue from customers .. stating that the Internet is neutral and will continue to be so ..we are confusing here is the concept of service neutrality to net neutrality"

"How will ‘Airtel Zero’ work?
  1. Mobile app makers register with ‘Airtel Zero’ to give customers toll-free access to their apps
  2. Airtel informs customers about these toll-free apps
  3. Customers download and access these apps at zero data charges – and enjoy their favorite online tasks (e.g. entertainment, shopping) for free – even at zero mobile balance"

See "Airtel launches ‘Airtel Zero’: A win-win platform for customers and marketers" - here.

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