Seeking to put itself on the right side of the Net neutrality debate, Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) launched open Web data plans, starting at Rs 299, giving users equal access to all websites and services.
Seeking to put itself on the right side of the Net neutrality debate, Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) on Monday launched open Web data plans, starting at Rs 299, giving users equal access to all websites and services.
The company, which operates under MTS brand, termed the plans in its nine telecom circles as ‘anti-zero rating plans’, which are designed to provide absolute freedom to customers to surf, call and chat freely and fairly.
“The competitively priced data plans offer customers not just high quantum of data, but more importantly, the absolute freedom to surf, call and chat freely and as per their choice,” it said in a statement.
This initiative, the company said, is part of a larger customer-centric programme that aims at enabling and empowering Netizens to have equal access to all lawful websites and services on the Internet and “reaffirms its commitment to uphold Internet’s ability to foster innovation, provide access to knowledge and freedom of speech”.
There has been a debate over zero-rating plans and other such schemes like internet.org as they are seen to violate the basic tenet of Net neutrality.
Net neutrality implies equal treatment is accorded to all Internet traffic and no priority is given to an entity or company based on payment to content or service providers such as telecom companies, which is seen as discriminatory.
The debate heated up after Airtel launched a platform, Airtel Zero, which would allow free access of some websites on it network. However, the companies were asked to pay Airtel for joining the platform.
Internet.org, on the other hand, is a Facebook-led initiative which aims to bring 5 billion people online in partnership with tech giants like Samsung and Qualcomm as well as mobile operators. In India, it had tied up with Reliance Communications.
“As an organisation, we are deeply committed to all the tenets of this principle (Net neutrality) which calls upon all stakeholders to treat all data on the Internet, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication,” MTS India Chief Marketing and Brand Officer Leonid Musatov said.
The company has also rolled out training and awareness programme on significance of Net neutrality involving over 40,000 retailers in its nine telecom circles. The programme is developed in six regional languages, including Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Bangla and Tamil, in addition to English.
Incidentally, telecom operator Reliance Communications on Monday launched unlimited free calling within its network, free incoming calls during roaming and data plans for a monthly Rs 197 in Gujarat.
“We believe that about 85 per cent of our customers in Gujarat will not have to pay beyond Rs 197 in a month,” RCom CEO for consumer business Gurdeep Singh said.