Zero-rating
Portugese mobile phone company MEO gives zero-rated access to their own service "MEO cloud", but caps the amount of data customers can use to access competing services, selling monthly data packages.

Zero-rating is the practice of providing Internet access without financial cost under certain conditions, such as by only permitting access to certain websites or by subsidizing the service with advertising.[1] Commentators discussing zero rating often present it as a subtopic of net neutrality.[1] While most sources report that use of zero-rating is contrary to the principle of net neutrality, there are mixed opinions among advocates for net neutrality about the extent to which people can take some benefits from zero-rating programs while not sacrificing net neutrality protections.[1] Typical supporters for zero-rating include commercial companies selling data service or advertising.[1] Those supporters argue that zero-rating enables consumers to make choices to access more data and leads to more people using online services.[1] Typical opposition against zero rating includes consumer protection groups and net neutrality advocates.[1] That opposition argues that zero-rating exploits the poor, creates opportunities for censorship or restrictions on freely accessing information and that it disrupts the free market which net neutrality protects.[1]

Existing programs

Internet services like Facebook, Wikipedia and Google have built special programs to use zero-rating as means to provide their service more broadly into developing markets. The benefit for these new customers, who will mostly have to rely on mobile networks to connect to the Internet, would be a subsidised access to services from these service providers. The results of these efforts have been mixed, with adoption in a number of markets, sometimes overestimated expectations and perceived lack of benefits for mobile network operators.[2] In Chile, the national telecom regulator ruled that this practice violated net neutrality laws and had to end by June 1, 2014.[3][4] The FCC did not ban zero-rating programs, but it "acknowledged that they could violate the spirit of net neutrality".[5]

Since June 2014, U.S. mobile provider T-Mobile US has offered zero-rated access to participating music streaming services to its mobile internet customers.[6] In November 2015, they expanded zero-rated access to video streaming services.[7] In January 2016, Verizon joined AT&T by creating its own sponsored data program, FreeBee Data, which "enables content providers to pay a wireless provider to allow its subscribers to engage with or consume a piece of content without it counting against the customers' monthly allotments".[8] Sponsored data on behalf of content providers through AT&T or Verizon covers the costs for the viewers and attracts more consumers. Some people have characterized this as ISPs having created a toll-free service for online users.

Advocates of net neutrality state that sponsored data "allows well-heeled content providers to pay for placement to the disadvantage of smaller companies that can't afford the same luxury".[9] Verizon's FreeBee Data program which allows its own customers to access certain content, like ESPN and its video streaming service, for free along with any other relevant app access and the data will not count against their monthly caps. In this way, big ISPs discriminate against data and content from those who do not pay to have their content included in the FreeBee or other sponsored programs.

Similarly, mobile network operators are also able to use the underlying classification technology like deep packet inspection to redirect enterprise-related data charges for employees using their private tablets or smartphones to their employer.[10] This has the benefit of Toll-free / zero-rated applications allowing employees to participate in bring your own device (BYOD) programs.

Reception and impact

Zero-rating certain services, fast lanes and sponsored data have been criticised as anti-competitive and limiting open markets.[11] It enables internet providers to gain a significant advantage in the promotion of in-house services over competing independent companies, especially in data-heavy markets like video-streaming. A service provider, who is offering unlimited access to their service, will naturally seem more favourable to consumers over one where usage is limited. If the first provider is the one restricting access, they are creating a considerable advantage for themselves over their competition, thereby restricting the freedom of the market. As many new internet and content services are launched targeting primarily mobile usage, and further adoption of internet connectivity globally (including broadband in rural areas of developed countries) relies heavily on mobile, zero-rating has also been regarded as a threat to the open internet, which is typically available via fixed line networks with unlimited usage tariffs or flat rates.[12][13]Facebook and the Wikimedia Foundation have been specifically criticized for their zero-rating programs, to further strengthen incumbent mobile network operators and limit consumer rights to an open internet.[14]

In the EU, specific cases such as those of Portugal were under scrutiny by national and EU regulators as of 2017, following the BEREC regulation on net neutrality.[15]

In addition to commercial interests, governments with a cultural agenda may support zero-rating for local content.[16]

List

The following countries and telecommunications carriers currently offer these notable instances of zero-rated services.

Country Carrier Mobile Wikipedia[17] Zero Wikipedia[17] Internet.org[18]
Afghanistan ROSHAN Yes Yes
Algeria Djezzy Yes Yes
Algeria Ooredoo Yes
Angola Unitel Yes
Angola Movicel Yes Yes
Anguilla Digicel Yes
Anguilla Flow Yes
Antigua Digicel Yes
Antigua Flow Yes
Aruba Digicel Yes Yes
Bangladesh Grameenphone Yes Yes Yes
Bangladesh Robi
Barbados Digicel Yes Yes
Barbados Flow Yes
Belarus Life:) Yes
Benin MTN Yes
Bermuda Digicel Yes
Bolivia Viva Yes
Bonaire Digicel Yes Yes
British Virgin Islands Digicel Yes
British Virgin Islands Flow Yes
Cambodia Smart Axiata Yes
Cape Verde Unitel Yes
Cape Verde CVMovel Yes
Cayman Islands Digicel Yes
Cayman Islands Flow Yes
Colombia Tigo Yes
Curaçao Digicel Yes Yes
Democratic Republic of the Congo Airtel Yes
Democratic Republic of the Congo Tigo Yes
Dominica Digicel Yes Yes
Dominica Flow Yes
East Timor Timor Telecom Yes Yes
El Salvador Digicel Yes Yes
Fiji Digicel Yes
French Guiana Digicel Yes
Gabon Airtel Yes
Ghana MTN Yes Yes
Ghana Airtel Yes
Ghana Tigo Yes
Grenada Digicel Yes Yes
Grenada Flow Yes
Guadeloupe Digicel Yes
Guatemala Tigo Yes
Guinea Cellcom Yes
Guinea-Bissau MTN Yes
Guyana Digicel Yes
Haiti Digicel Yes
Indonesia Indosat Yes
Iraq AsiaCell Yes
Iraq Korek Yes
Iraq Zain Yes
Jamaica Digicel Yes Yes
Jamaica Flow Yes
Jordan Umniah Yes Yes
Kenya Safaricom Yes Yes
Kenya Airtel Yes
Kosovo IPKO Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Megacom Yes Yes
Liberia Cellcom Yes
Madagascar Blueline Yes
Malawi Airtel Yes
Malawi TNM Yes
Maldives Ooredoo Yes
Martinique Digicel Yes
Mauritania Mauritel Yes
Mexico Telcel & Virgin Yes
Mexico Virgin Yes
Moldova Moldcell Yes
Mongolia G-Mobile Yes Yes Yes
Mongolia Mobicom Yes
Mongolia Skytel Yes
Montenegro Telenor Yes Yes
Montserrat Flow Yes
Morocco Inwi Yes Yes
Morocco Maroc Telecom Yes Yes
Mozambique Mcel Yes
Myanmar Telenor Yes Yes
Myanmar MPT Yes
Nauru Digicel Yes
Nepal Ncell Yes Yes
Niger Airtel Yes
Nigeria Airtel Yes
Pakistan Telenor Yes
Pakistan Zong Yes
Panama Digicel Yes Yes
Peru Bitel Yes Yes
Peru Entel Yes
Philippines Globe Yes
Philippines Smart Yes
Republic of Congo Airtel Yes
Rwanda MTN Yes Yes
Rwanda Airtel Yes
Saint Lucia Digicel Yes
Saint Lucia Flow Yes
Senegal Tigo Yes
Serbia Telenor Yes
Seychelles Airtel Yes
South Africa Cell C Yes
Sri Lanka Dialog No Yes
St Kitts Digicel Yes
St Kitts Flow Yes
St Vincent Digicel Yes
St. Lucia Digicel Yes
St. Vincent & the Grenadines Digicel Yes
Suriname Digicel Yes Yes
Tajikistan Tcell Yes Yes
Tajikistan Babilon-Mobile Yes Yes
Tanzania Tigo Yes
Tanzania Airtel Yes
Thailand dtac Yes
Thailand DTAC Yes
Thailand TrueMove Yes
Timor-Leste Telkomcel Yes
Tonga Digicel Yes
Trinidad and Tobago Digicel Yes Yes
Tunisia Tunisie Telecom Yes
Turks and Caicos Islands Digicel Yes
Turks and Caicos Islands Flow Yes
Vanuatu Digicel Yes
Vanuatu Telecom Yes
Zambia Airtel Yes

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bates, Samantha; Bavitz, Christopher; Hessekiel, Kira (5 October 2017). "Zero Rating & Internet Adoption". cyber.harvard.edu. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. 
  2. ^ Morris, Anne (January 11, 2014). "For zero-rated deals, OTT providers can no longer assume the carrier will pay". Fierce Wireless Europe. Retrieved 2014. 
  3. ^ Mirani, Leo (May 30, 2014). "Less than zero - When net neutrality backfires: Chile just killed free access to defaultlogic.com resource and Facebook". Quartz. Retrieved 2014. 
  4. ^ McKenzie, Jessica (June 2, 2014). "Face Off in Chile: Net Neutrality v. Human Right to Facebook & Wikipedia". Retrieved 2014. 
  5. ^ "Wolverton: Battle for net neutrality isn't over". www.mercurynews.com. Retrieved . 
  6. ^ "T-Mobile's latest 'Un-carrier' feature: Rhapsody Unradio, an odd streaming music service". June 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  7. ^ "T-Mobile Stops Counting Netflix, HBO, Hulu, And Other Video Streams Against Your Data Usage". November 10, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  8. ^ Tonner, Andrew. "Verizon Joins AT&T in This Controversial Net Neutrality Practice -- The Motley Fool". The Motley Fool. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ Tonner, Andrew. "Verizon Joins AT&T in This Controversial Net Neutrality Practice - The Motley Fool". The Motley Fool. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ Fitchard, Kevin (January 6, 2014). "AT&T launches "Sponsored Data," inviting content providers to pay consumers' mobile data bills". Gigaom. Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ Drossos, Antonios (April 26, 2014). "Forget fast lanes. The real threat for net-neutrality is zero-rated content". Gigaom. Retrieved 2014. 
  12. ^ Gillmor, Dan (June 6, 2014). "A government ruled for net neutrality. Too bad it wasn't your government". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ Reardon, Marguerite (February 26, 2016). "Can unlimited video really be that bad?". Retrieved 2016. 
  14. ^ MacDonald, Raegan (August 8, 2014). "Wikipedia Zero and net neutrality: Wikimedia turns its back on the open internet". access. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ Andrei Khalip & Agnieszka Flak (2017-12-15). "False paradise? EU is no haven of Net neutrality, say critics". Reuters. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Kate (5 May 2017). "Is exempting Cancon from data charges the best way to promote it?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017. 
  17. ^ a b "Mobile partnerships - Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ "Where we've launched - English". Internet.org. Retrieved . 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Zero-rating
 



 

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