Facebook ads bombarding and Airtel’s Zero rating gone to trash, as India’s telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said that no service provider shall offer or charge differential pricing for data services on the basis of content.

That means NO to Facebook’s Free Basics, Airtel Zero rating and similar programs. You are now free to use the internet data to your needs, no need to pay an extra for VoIP (for voice calling in Skype, Whatsapp, Viber etc), watching videos on Youtube and browsing specific websites on the internet.

According to the Prohibition of discriminatory tariffs for data services regulation 2016 –

  • No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.
  • No service provider shall enter into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered or charged to the consumer on the basis of content
  • The decision of the Authority as to whether a service provider is in contravention of this regulation shall be final and binding

The service provider may only provide reduce tariff for accessing or providing emergency services, or at times of public emergency.

And if a service provider tries to violate this regulation and offer differential pricing to its subscribers, then TRAI can levy a penalty of Rs 50,000 for each day of the contravention, subject to a maximum of rupees fifty lakh.

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