Flipkart Just Ruined The Basic Net Neutrality Principle By Joining Airtel Zero Platform

Not open for further replies.


The TroubleShooter!
Flipkart, which raised $1.91 billion in funding last year, has signed up with Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, four highly placed sources have confirmed to MediaNama.
Airtel has confirmed that it is launching a platform called Airtel Zero, in order to allow companies to buy data to offer their apps to consumers for free.
Zero Rating violates Net Neutrality, something which the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has acknowledged in its consultation paper announced last week (paper, FAQs), which may end up in a licensing regime for Internet companies, or allow telecom operators to do traffic shaping – slow down or speed up certain services, make some expensive versus others, or slice the Internet into types of services, rather than offer access to the Internet as a whole.

Sachin Bansal, founder and CEO of Flipkart, declined to respond to the following questions:
1. Does Flipkart have exclusivity in the shopping/ecommerce category in this Zero Rating deal with Airtel?
2. Has Flipkart closed similar deals with any other telecom operator?
3. Is Flipkart in talks with any other telecom operator for similar deals?
4. Is there any preferential bandwidth allocation as a part of this deal? As in, will specific bandwidth speeds be allocated to Flipkart, so that access to Flipkart is faster than it is ecommerce/shopping apps or sites?
5. Does this deal involve any throttling of other ecommerce sites or apps? As in, will other ecommerce sites or apps be slowed down by Airtel so that the Flipkart app appears faster?
6. What is the price being paid by Flipkart, on a per MB basis, to Airtel, for making Flipkart free?
7. Is this a part of the Airtel OneTouch Internet access gateway?
8. We’ve further heard from sources that Flipkart is paying Airtel Rs 1000/gb data transfer for this deal. Would appreciate if you could confirm or deny this figure. If incorrect, would appreciate if you could share the actual figure.

Source: *www.medianama.com/2015/04/223-flipkart-net-neutrality-airtel/


What Is Airtel Zero?
Airtel Zero is a new platform offered by Airtel, wherein the end users will pay nothing to access some specific websites, gaming portals and ecommerce portals. There would be no data charges for those customers who opt for Zero Airtel, and chose to access only a few specific sites.

Pretty much based on the DTH model for viewing satellite TV channels, the cost of data charges used by the consumer is borne by the chosen websites and ecommerce portals.

While launching this service, Srini Gopalan, Director, Consumer Business, at Bharti Airtel said, “This is exciting for customers because a lot of their favourite apps can now be accessed without data charges, and a lot of new apps that small start-ups want to offer now become free,”

How Will It Work?
Put simply, Airtel Zero offers rich, cash stuffed Internet companies to shell out money to acquire customers. Instead of doing digital marketing in the open market, they will now directly pay to Airtel to acquire customers. A shortcut to acquire customers, at the expense of their freedom!

Assume you are an Airtel user, and you have chosen Airtel Zero platform. Now, there will be several ‘packs’ based on which you need to select your favorite websites and portals.

Assume there is a pack wherein you will be able to access Youtube, Instagram, StumbleUpon and Flipkart. Thus, when you choose this pack as the end user, you will be able to download these applications and there would be no data charge while accessing it, as it would be paid by Youtube, Instagram, StumbleUpon and Flipkart directly to Airtel.

The Problem With Airtel Zero - Freedom of choice.

You as a customer will have access to only those portals and websites which have made arrangement with Airtel. As per reports, Airtel will collaborate with 80-100 Internet companies, including top 2-3 ecommerce portals. Besides these, you won’t be able to access any website or app without paying extra and more data charges.

In case Reddit or Dailymotion decides to opt out of Airtel Zero, there is no way you can access these portals besides moving out of Airtel platform.

It’s a gross violation of Net Neutrality principle, according to which Internet service providers (Airtel here) should not discriminate against specific websites and portals and make it more favorable infront of end users. And this is what happening with Airtel Zero platform now.

Tim Berners Lee, who is regarded as the the inventor of the World Wide Web had said, “Of course, (net neutrality) is not just about blocking and throttling. It is also about stopping ‘positive discrimination’, such as when one internet operator favors one particular service over another. If we don’t explicitly outlaw this, we hand immense power to telcos and online service operators. In effect, they can become gatekeepers — able to handpick winners and the losers in the market and to favour their own sites, services and platforms over those of others. This would crowd out competition and snuff out innovative new services before they even see the light of day.”

Thus, only those websites and online services which have money to pay, will be introduced favorably infront of the end user and those who are new and without any venture will be left out.

Internet was created to remove the gatekeepers of information, and ideas. Companies like Airtel cannot handpick few portals and websites and ignore others. What if I don’t want to buy from Flipkart and don’t want to listen to Youtube?

If I am an Airtel customer, I am afraid I won’t have much choice. Flipkart and all ecommerce portals should object to such a platform which discriminates one against other.

TRAI has asked general public to share their views on the Net Neutrality principle, and we would again, strongly urge you all to write to them to save Internet and Ideas in India. More details here.

Do you think that Airtel Zero will be beneficial to the overall startup ecosystem and technological advancement which India is making right now? Do you think its ethical to discriminate one website against other by a telecom provider like Airtel? Please share your views by commenting right here.

Source: *trak.in/tags/business/2015/04/06/flipkart-airtel-zero-ruined-neutrality-india/

More to come.. If Net Neutrality is failed.


Destroy Erase Improve
Staff member
I can't understand how can they market this as a good thing?

Also, anyone who thinks that this is right is out of their mind. If this is left unchecked now, we won't recognize the internet in the future. After Airtel, other telecom companies will start this and the website owners will have to pay all of these operators just to exist, not just to continue to provide services.

BTW, #BoycottFlipkart is trending on twitter.


Indian Railways - The Vibrant and Moving INDIA
We have to use the FB and #Twitter platform judiciously against the whims and likes of Airtel + Flipkart + ...


WTF is Modi government doing about this?
WTF id trai doing about this?
USA is ****ed because of the telecom companies there. They dont get to see any new handsets as they are primarily controlled by telecos.

I don't want India to get fuc*** up because of this sh** Airtel. I say boycott flipkart and boycott airtel.


Chosen of the Omnissiah
WTF is Modi government doing about this?
WTF id trai doing about this?
USA is ****ed because of the telecom companies there. They dont get to see any new handsets as they are primarily controlled by telecos.

I don't want India to get fuc*** up because of this sh** Airtel. I say boycott flipkart and boycott airtel.

+100 to this...:cool::D


Human Spambot
My hatred towards Airtel is just getting stronger and stronger. Flipkart, liked you guys, still do, don't know how much you got paid though :( I wished there was a better and fairer telecommunication company who could do a hostile takeover of Airtel but that's more or less impossible with Bharti's overall fundamentals.


The TroubleShooter!
At the end of the day they are also businessman.

Aha. How would you feel if your ISP is slowing down routes to snapdeal/ amazon when they have flash sales and Keeping Routes to Flipkart fast. Would you still call them Businessmen?
Shame on these Scumbags 'Flipkart' calling themselves as an Internet Company. They should be included in the Crap group as CrapKart or Flopkart, Indeed they will be, If they open up Free access to their APP.
I fail to understand, Who the F**k at Flipkart would have got such an Idea to pay ~Rs 1000 for 1Gb of Data transferred between Airtel and Flipkart app?


Lost in speed
"We believe that this platform is consistent with India's Digital Inclusion agenda and also contributes to the government's 'Make in India' vision by providing a platform to millions of small businesses to reach out to the end consumer.", said Srini Gopalan, director - consumer business, Bharti Airtel (India).


- - - Updated - - -



Living to Play
Just cancelled 2 orders from FK stating the reason as Others that I don't like your Move against Net Neutrality. :D
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom