Saturday, April 18, 2015

Net Neutrality

I am NOT supporting Net Neutrality, and I am fully supporting Airtel Zero Plan which is not Net Neutral.

From the Government, I am expecting only the fair allocation of the spectrum (Whoever pays more money should get the spectrum). Other than that, I do not want Government to interfere in any actions of the telecom companies.

There are two types of Net Neutrality. One is giving special disadvantage to few sites, and another one is giving special advantage to few sites.

Some time back, Airtel introduced special charges for calls over internet (like skype), where there is increase in the price. So, customers would have to pay more for the same usage. Many people were unhappy about this and Airtel has withdrawn this. Eventhough, it is increasing the cost, I do not want TRAI or some other government organization and interfere in this. Interfering by TRAI would make things worse in the long run. If the customers do not like Airtel, and if they switch to other providers, that is enough. Either Airtel will revert it or it will be out of business. When the spectrum is allocated in fair manner, I am sure, there would be atleast one telecom company which wants to capture the group that is effected. Even if there is no one, Government should make BSNL to offer in fair manner rather than TRAI introducing new rules.

I can understand that, giving special disadvantage to few sites would make people unhappy, since, people will have to pay more for the same thing. However, I could not understand why giving special advantage to few sites would make people unhappy.

In Airtel Zero plan, if any company registers with them, then their app can be accessed for free by all the customers, and the company pays for their data charges. The end user will never need to pay anything for using the apps. I simply cannot understand why a normal user would object to this.

Of course, small entrepreneurs may be unhappy with this, saying, they do not have fair chance to compete in the market. I am not a fan of Antitrust laws. In business, the fair chance should be always seen from the customer's point of view and not from the company's point of view. If somebody is giving me something for free, or donating me some money, I never want anybody else to obstruct that. I encourage them to give everything for free or donate to me as long as they can give. The market has changed so much that, there is no place for small business people. Unless the new companies are indirectly donating money to the consumers, they are unable to retain the customers. Can anyone think that, they can beat Foodpanda or Ola cabs without having 1 Billion Dollars? [By the way, I saved Rs.600 from ola cabs, and I don't want to mention how much I saved from Foodpanda. Foodpanda would have lost hell lot of money by my transactions.] If any other company says, "they are giving everything for free. Because of that, we are unable to do business", then only bad words would come from me.

Flipkart has withdrawn from Airtel Zero plan in support of Net Neutrality. If I were in the decision making board of Flipkart, the only reason why I would have supported is, to get some good name, and for not losing some (Communist) user base. [Did it hurt anyone? ;) ]

I don't know whether Ola cabs is going with Airtel Zero Plan or not. If they go with this plan, it would be very useful for people like me. When I am outside, except google maps and Ola cabs there is hardly anything else that I use on mobile. For everything else, I can wait till I reach home/office to access. If they provide free packs or less expensive packs for these, it would save me lot of money. [On a side note, two days back when it was raining, I had to take a net plan on road just to book a ola cab.]

I was recharging for my parents for special whatsapp pack and not the normal data pack. That costs less than normal data pack, and since, my parents were using only whatsapp, it was economical for me. In the name of net neutrality, if they remove all those, it would be definitely not economical for me.

I saw many petitions to support net neutrality. For obvious reasons, I did not sign any. If anyone starts a petition on Freedom for Telecom companies on offering different services, then I will definitely sign on it.

If Airtel is not Neutral, then why cannot you just move to other Net Neutral providers like BSNL. Why are you not asking to ban Toll Free numbers? (For those who are of same age as me or older than me), Why did not you ask to ban the letters which says "No postage required" from selected companies?