Trai gets record response on differential pricing


NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received 18.27 lakh responses to its consultation paper on differential pricing, its chairman RS Sharma said, adding that analyses showed that a large number of them supported Facebook’s Free Basics plans.

// Around 8.9 lakh responses through phone and 5.44 lakh through Facebook mail were received supporting Free Basics, Sharma said.

Sharma asserted that the consultation paper was not an opinion poll where people were supposed to answer only four questions for differential pricing.

// Industrialist Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) on December 23 said following the Indian telecom regulator’s directive, the commercial launch of Facebook’s Free Basics has been put on hold till it gets clearance.

RCom is the only telecom service provider offering Free Basics in India.

The regulator said Facebook’s Free Basics service should remain on hold till the ruling on differential pricing comes up.

// Differential pricing on data services is an important aspect of net neutrality. Sharma said the decision on differential pricing will come up by January end.

He also mentioned that the Indian telecom watchdog has decided to extend the deadline on comments on the differential pricing paper by another week till January 7.

// According to sources, the comments should reach the regulator before January 7 and the regulator will come out with counter-comments by January 14. The deadline for receiving comments ended on Wednesday.

The Trai on December 9 said differential pricing of data services by various operators might potentially go against the principle of non-discriminatory tariff and sought comments or opinions from stakeholders.


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