Is Flipkart Not In Support Of A Free Web? Signs Up For The Airtel Zero Service

Flipkart has apparently tied up with India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel to allow consumers to use its app on their devices without incurring any charges for data usage.
According to MediaNama, Airtel is launching a new platform Airtel Zero, that will allow companies and developers offer their apps to consumers for free, similar to how toll-free calls work today.
However, Airtel Zero has drawn flak for violating net neutrality norms, which even the TRAI has acknowledged.
There’s a fear that the move will end up creating a closed internet, where one company pays the service provider to lock its rivals out, which isn’t healthy competition.
Flipkart declined to comment on the prospects of a partnership with Airtel Zero, while the telecom operator has been more open about why the platform doesn’t discriminate Net Neutrality in India.
The company says its service is open to all apps, but being a service companies will have to pay Airtel to get their apps on it. Airtel Zero is more of an extension of the app specific data packs that carriers have been offering for sometime now.
However, partnering with WhatsApp and other chat and VOiP calling services was a way of promoting a service, while ISPs benefitted from getting more people to access the internet.
With its new service however, Airtel is looking to drive revenues directly from companies who’re willing to pay to access a group of consumers. If consumers will have an option to opt-out of such a service is still to be seen.
Questions have been raised as to how Airtel Zero will affect the openness of the Internet, however consumers will still have the option of accessing all services/websites by paying for data.
At a time when the debate for net neutrality in India is raging, is Flipkart making the right move by tying up with Airtel. The e-commerce company is already being seen in a negative light given rumours of the partnership, but will this really hurt the company?
For another side to the store read this.

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