Airtel Responds To Anti Net Neutrality Allegations

In the light of all the negative publicity Airtel’s new Airtel Zero platform has been getting, the company has released a statement justifying why it isn’t exactly Anti Net Neutrality.
The company reiterates its stand that Airtel Zero is a marketing tool for developers and other companies. By not charging customers and charging brands directly, the company says developers can reduce their marketing costs by almost three quarters.
Airtel Zero then, is more akin to a platform that’ll drive app installs than serve as a differential platform for developers that are willing to pay up front.
As for the assumption that small up start companies that might not be able to pay, Airtel says over 150 of them have already enquired about getting on Airtel Zero.
Here’s a table the company compiled of the Myths v/s Realities of Airtel Zero:

Myth Reality
The product concept amounts to preferential access Not at all. Airtel Zero provides universal access and is free for all our customers. Customers have the choice to decide whether they want to come there or not.
Large companies with big budgets will be favoured and smaller start-ups will lose out NO. On the contrary we have had lots of ‘small’ start-ups calling us and congratulating us for building this platform, which offers them a great opportunity to market their products at very low costs. Over 150 companies are already in touch with us and want to sign up.
‘Smaller’ Start-ups will not be able to afford to pay for the data charges Why not? Today, when a consumer downloads a new app and uses it for a day, the total amount of data consumed is roughly about 20-30 MB. Assuming a price of INR 1/MB of free data, this will translate to INR 20 for the start-up. Compared to this, the average cost of marketing digitally through large media/ internet companies is about INR 50 to 300 per download. So, this platform will actually make it cheaper for small companies to gain distribution as well as visibility.
Telecom companies will charge other companies for data used by customers. This is a way of making money. Telecom companies have been working with businesses for decades to offer ‘Toll-Free’ voice services, wherein, a business pays to a customer to call in. Airtel Zero is the same concept.
Airtel Zero is against Net Neutrality and gives advantage to those who can pay for data. As a concept Airtel Zero has nothing to do with Net Neutrality. It is free for each and every customer and offers the same speed to all. It charges the same amount to each company for data without any discrimination.
Speed to access the apps that are not on Airtel Zero will be throttled Completely incorrect. There is no difference in speed to access various apps, whether they are on Airtel Zero or not.

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