The Amabni-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm is planning to introduce, what they call as “content-streaming packages”, eying to compete better in the booming telco market.
The content-usage policies are exactly similar to what net neutrality activists feared the most—by bundling both data and talk time into a single package Reliance Jio could be treading on non-neutral lines.
Jio Infocom is planning on introducing ‘Jio Packages’ which will allow subscribers to watch (say 5 movies a month), or watch cricket match live, or use IM apps like Whatsapp and Viber without having to pay for the download separately.
A transaction on Jio’s payments bank platform will subsidise the connectivity, said sources from the company to ET.
“The company’s internal calculations show that even in this (content) model, it should have monetization of 60-80 per GB of data consumed. Jio has lined up applications such as chat, money, and television to back up its digital strategy,” added the source.
Ambani in a meeting claimed that Rs 300-400 a month would buy adequate data on the Jio network for calling and Internet surfing, once the bundles are launched.
This is just a third of the current market rates being levied by existing players like Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone.
How The New Plan Doesn’t Go Hand-In-Hand With Net Neutrality
Well, the new bundle plan looks wonderful, but the catch is that these bundles are treated as a separately deductible plan–apart from the original data and voice deductions.
So now you have previously agreed to pay money for the “special data bundle”, and any usage not specified in the bundle will be charged extra.
One principle of Net Neutrality states: “ISPs and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging deferentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”
Airtel faced criticism from activists and users alike in India for their zero-rating-based Airtel Zero platform that provides free access to basic websites like facebook, flipkart, etc.
Flipkart decided not to list its website on the platform, after the widespread public outrage against Airtel Zero. Its founder, Sachin Bansal took to twitter to explain the company’s stance on net neutrality, earlier.
Sachin Bansal talks to NextBigWhat on net neutrality and Airtel Zero, take a look at it here.