An Analogy Why Net Neutrality, Airtel Zero Don’t Cross Path

airtel-zero-net-neutralityThere has been enough said and written around net neutrality and Airtel Zero in the last one week. And its not enough yet. Its still being written, lobbied and on top of that, a wrong message is being conveyed that Airtel Zero violates net neutrality.

 

I find it’s my responsibility to clear some air and try to explain it with an example. Here it is.

Net Neutrality And Airtel Zero

Its like you are going to gaming zone or imagine a traditional fair where people visit to enjoy various rides. There are 10 different rides like roller coaster, slides, Columbus, bungee jumping placed for the visitors. As a customer you bought a prepaid card of Rs 100 which can be used to pay for the rides. Each ride costs Rs 10. So, you tend to spend Rs 100 to use all the 10 rides. Then the fair organizer launched a scheme wherein three of the rides will be free for the customers and the cost for the same will be recovered from the ride operators. This scheme, as was expected, attracted more visitors to the fair and more people visited the rides, both free ones as well as paid ones. Now, the customers paid only Rs 70 as against Rs 100 prior to the scheme, to enjoy the same 10 rides. People were happy because their expense came down and the fair organizer was happy because more visitors came visited.

Now tell me, did you as a customer loose your choice of using the rides? Did the free ride provider slowed the pace of the rides? Did the paid rides vanish from the fair/gaming zone? Did the fair organizer cut off the electricity supply to the paid rides?

Now you ask yourself, did the fair organizer behaved neutrally with you, with the ride providers and the spirit of the game itself?

I would like to know from you, if it violates the spirit of gaming, stopped anyone from visiting the fair or did it block any ride operator to join the fair?

Compare the scenario with net neutrality and Airtel Zero. Airtel zero being the fair organizer, you are the customer and the rides are the various apps.

 

35 Comments

  1. Kiran Chaudhari says:

    Sir,
    1)In free internet the customer is neither paying Rs. 100 nor Rs. 70.
    2)Let us see the scenario given by you.The fair organizer launched a scheme wherein three of the rides will be free for the customers and the cost for the same will be recovered from the ride operators. Soon what will happen is that the fair organiser will recover Rs. 60 for three rounds and later Rs. 150 from all the rides. Who is to stop this ?

  2. You are defending pricing models for a fair. But who says the internet is a fair!?

  3. Did you think of the following scenario: Out of 10 rides, 2 rides are of same category and customers are free to choose any of them as all three are going to attract the same amount of fee. Now, that the organizer makes one of theme free, it would be a natural tendency for customers to avail the free one rather than the paid one, whereas one will suffer even after providing the exact same services. This is where the organizer is not neutral!

  4. A correct analogy would involve customers enjoying the 3 free rides without paying anything. However they would have to buy a Rs. 70 prepaid card for the other 7 rides. Also, one would have to assume that the free rides have infinite capacity such that any number of people can ride on them at a time.

    In such a situation, most people will prefer riding only the free rides and not buying the prepaid card altogether. Which means only websites which have struck deals with Airtel will be accessible to most people. Gross violation of Net Neutrality.

  5. Parwez Ahmed says:

    How much has Airtel paid you to write this?

  6. Concerned Citizen says:

    Paid article.

  7. Let me give you the big picture here.
    First let me give you a fact, if I’m a developer I will prefer to make apps for Android over windows phone because android has highest market share so I have greater reach.
    Now to this scenario, Airtel makes 10 online apps free to surf. This will drive increased traffic to these app sites and more revenue to the sites. These sites have deep pockets and can pay Airtel for data used by customers. Now other small app developers won’t find it very lucrative to develop apps because they will have smaller reach. So number of people developing apps will reduce. less players developing apps means lesser innovation and that is a loss to consumers. I’m not an app developer and I believe in perfect competition in market space (there shouldn’t be any entry barriers for anyone). Let the big players identify themselves by offering better solutions and not by cheap tricks.

  8. Deepak Kanakaraju says:

    Your argument is flawed.

  9. I hope you know the concept “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.
    Going by your logic, fair organizer (telecom companies) do not own any of the rides. The owners of the ride (companies that do business through internet – for instance flipkart) get the income from the customers who come to the ride.
    How will the owner provide a service for free without taking a hit in his profits? He will eventually pass on the cost to his customers to maintain this one freely available. Or he will take the loss till his competitors (other similar rides) go out of business because they can’t offer their rides for free. Then he will charge whatever he wants because there will not be anyone to compete against him.
    The loser here is the customer.

  10. Most immature , biased and narrow-visioned article I ever read .Teleanalysis is a Teleco lobbyist .The author presents telecom side only or is uneducated to know the entire picture of net neutrality

  11. This article is paid propaganda by Airtel.

    Mr. Gyana Ranjan, I would really recommend you watch the Youtube video on it.

  12. Hello again Gyana,

    It is not unfair to other ride providers. Also, what if the rides given for free are not the ones which consumers would want for free (rather other more lucrative rides).

    Is it not serving the agenda of the fair organizer, who was earlier only providing land for rent, and is now trying to earn from the innovation of the ride organizers. Not just that, he is now given the power of choosing which rides to promote.

    Consumers should not pay for the greed of the ride organizer, for the only reason that he thinks he has put more investment on land. He has no title on the rides, but only on the land.

    If he want to join in and earn, he better innovate, and create a ride that the consumers will enjoy too.

    Hope this will be able to change your perspective.

    Cheers

  13. Simply put, Gyana the author is technically incompetent to know net neutrality .

    • Justin Hughes says:

      I hope Gyana won’t Publish my comment…
      So, here its for you, Mr Gyana:

      I must say you have written this article for possibly one of these three reasons:
      (1) You were desperately trying to mark an ‘alternative stand’ and show that you have a different hue out of a fuzzy bunch of crowd crying in chorus.

      (2) You belong to the same nexus of COAI-TRAI Corporate lobbyists, and trying to justify an outright theft by some ‘hard-to-correlate’ examples. Service providers are greatly marginalized by the overwhelming response from the people (they never imagined Indians would have enough IQ to unwind their traps). The FREE PILL called “xyz ZERO” couldn’t be harder to make it swallow. The huge outcry from the public forced many public figures and politicians to strike the popular chord.

      (3) You have a very limited understanding of the concept of ‘net neutrality’, and trying to feed people with your self-cooked definition.

      Bottomline: A sponsored article, with plenty of fuzzy and ambiguous analogies…

  14. If you are free media then post my comments

  15. I’ll make a facebook page and Twitter and create awareness about http://www.teleanalysis.com/ saying how it moderated facts and pursued an agenda of its own . I have transcripts

  16. ok Thank you for not moderating my comments .So there’s still democracy here
    Cheers

  17. so you mean to say that no rider provider will be affected ..what about one small poor who has made a innovative ride but cannot put it in any amusement park because they will make u pay heavily…biased flawed and totally myopic…

    • Dear Shiv, does Airtel Zero says if one app does not want to come on board, it will be stopped from being available? How come you think that app of that ‘small poor’ will not be available in in the internet? That’s the kind of misconception i wanted to clear up.

      regards,
      Gyana

      • Wasim Hasan says:

        It was a just a peril in disguise. Better you decipher it at the budding stage.

        Making something FREE doesn’t make it fair.
        And, why you’re denying the fact that its indeed NOT for free. There are back-end transaction, which will be ultimately levied on the user. Nothing comes for ZERO…
        (Would you please explain, what was that secret deal between a*tel and F*kart?)

        Its indeed a beta-test of a larger plot. If people swallow this sugar-coated pill, not even God can save it from self-destruction. Tomorrow the pills won’t be coated…

        With due regards, I would say that you have a misconception of the idea of ‘neutrality’. You can’t buy one of your child more precious clothes than the others. That violates this concept…

  18. Justin Hughes says:

    I must say you have written this article for possibly one of these three reasons:
    (1) You were desperately trying to mark an ‘alternative stand’ and show that you have a different hue out of a fuzzy bunch of crowd crying in chorus.

    (2) You belong to the same nexus of COAI-TRAI Corporate lobbyists, and trying to justify an outright theft by some ‘hard-to-correlate’ examples. Service providers are greatly marginalized by the overwhelming response from the people (they never imagined Indians would have enough IQ to unwind their traps). The FREE PILL called “xyz ZERO” couldn’t be harder to make it swallow. The huge outcry from the public forced many public figures and politicians to strike the popular chord.

    (3) You have a very limited understanding of the concept of ‘net neutrality’, and trying to feed people with your self-cooked definition.

    Bottomline: A sponsored article, with plenty of fuzzy and ambiguous analogies…

  19. Suyash Shah says:

    What is assumed in your argument is that the free ride operators pay by the users it gets. The more user the free ride gets, the more it pays to the organiser. So organiser will promote the free rides and obstruct other paid ride operators. Also, the free ride operator will charge more from the customers for the services they buy (Flipkart will charge more for its products because it has to pay Airtel, for instance). In that case if a new ride operator wants to install the ride and since the operator’s budget is low it cannot afford to pay the organizer which in effect is disadvantageous to competition

  20. You are definitely paid .. just come out clean

  21. Biased and paid article by some person who sold hem/her-self.

    It’s like we are murdering you so that you can enjoy your childhood again. Don’t you want to enjoy childhood??
    So let me kill you and take all of your money. Bcos I am ‘you know what they are’.

  22. Wasim Hasan says:

    Come a ‘non-neutral’ internet. airtel’s dream run.
    Here’s how it would look:

    airtel wants to charge extra for WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Google Talk and so on and on and on, because they were eating into their SMS and voice market.
    So, here are some more brilliant ideas that Mr. Mittal & his associate frenemies (blood-thirsty rivals, yet united for a reason) would like to consider:

    1. Must charge the internet segregated into local, STD and ISD zones (most lucrative one, because FB, Skype, Viber all are international service providers, so must be charged at ISD rates…) because internet is eating into their long-distance revenue. Plus, there has to be ‘pack’ for every individual country, province and more precisely every individual websites and services.

    2. “Operators must get a share of the service revenue” is COAI’s call. So, whenever you send money home via net banking, airtel must be given a 10% share. You know, they’re the ones carrying your money. Haq banta hai yaar!

    3. There must be a basic internet pack for showing the 2G/3G/4G (and more G) logo on your screen, and ‘over-the-top’ of it, you ‘pay as you go’ anywhere on the web. Don’t you remember the ‘validity’ and ‘balance’ concept? How can you be so forgetful?

    4. FB and Instagram destroyed the cult called MMS (which is now ofcourse used to entitle movies,)… So, must pay Rs. 10/- per photo (again, not exceeding 256kb, ofcourse) shared over FB/Instagram/ or anywhere. Because? Hey, they butchered our donkey called MMS.

    5. Emails must be charged ‘over the top’. They assassinated our BBM service… Don’t you remember? Rs. 800 per month!

    6. Again, audio sharing (on SounCloud, on YouTube or that PK thing…) must be ‘regulated’. In someways, it resembles our Voice Messaging… So, again, Rs. 2 per min…

    7. There must be a roaming system, above and over the existing ‘roaming’… A true roaming… i.e. when you stand and surf, you can use the standard pack, but as soon as you start moving, you need to pay a ‘true roaming’ fee. Why? Don’t you know we’re employing something called ‘satellite backhaul’ for our 4G. Paisa kaun dega, tera baap?

    The final question:
    So, are the mobile companies really losing revenues? Let’s take a look at the APRU (average revenue per user: an indicator operators used to show up when they used to post losses, but now they have forsaken this index, because this will lay the truth bare)

    COAI’s own website tells a completely different story all together. APRU has spiked up due to data (and that too within the framework of ‘net neutrality’. And more worth mentioning that a WhatsApp call isn’t coming for free, its charging both the callers (unlike voice) and average cost per minute whatsapp call is Rs. 1.20 per min over 3G

    ‪#‎savetheinternet‬ ‪#‎netneutrality‬ ‪#‎nonneutralinternet‬ ‪#‎deathofinternet‬ ‪#‎indiawantsnetneutrality‬

  23. anonymouse says:

    Guys,
    don’t be fooled by this guy called Gyan.
    He is just trying to boost his site hits.
    Do you think he’s writing it out of his ignorance/innocence?
    You’re terribly wrong!
    He’s repeating the same thing over and over again in different ways.
    Check here:
    http://www.teleanalysis.com/news/how-you-are-being-misled-over-airtel-zero-14352.html

    Angering people is a convenient way of getting quick hits (therefore revenues). Besides that players like airtel and voda will be overwhelmingly pleased and spill some easy bucks.

    Mr Gyan, are you too naive to understand what ‘neutrality’ implies? Pretention must have some limits. Shame…

  24. Abe writer yeda hai kya bhai. Kuch bhi chaap rela hai.

  25. Following observations on the pitfalls of the Airtel Zero initiative:

    1) Because 3 of those rides were made free, the paid rides would suffer as they would lose out on customers going to the free rides (because it is free) and otherwise would have considered going to them.

    2) Your analogy assumes that all rides are unique. How about if there are 2 roller-coaster rides in the same fair? For example, assuming that Skype and Viber are 2 paid rides in the fair, if Skype becomes free for consumers (because of a deal with the ride organizer Airtel), consumers would flock to Skype (those same consumers may have considered Viber earlier). Earlier, Skype and Viber had to woo and attract consumers by adding new and superior features/functionalities compared to the other, but now all one of them needs to do is strike a deal with the organizer and kill competition. Consumers thus lose out on the new and superior features/functionalities eventually.

  26. This argument would apply (1) IF the spectrum was your private property and (2) there were enough alternative to this fair. Spectrum is a public good, LICENSED to the telcos so it is fair to expect them to keep the network neutral. It’s unfortunate the license terms did not specify this. It should have been the case from the beginning. But that is a matter between the telco and the government to resolve.

  27. Omar Jaleel says:

    You’re assuming there is only one fair in the ecosystem. What if I want to go to another fair? Will airtel let me go for free?

    Are you saying airtel will not charge extra for things not covered under their free plans?

  28. Airtel paid article. Airtel will give Hike ( Kavin Bharti owned messenger) for free, and you’ll have to pay for WhatsApp, Telegram and WeChat. Flipkart App is free to browse, but Amazon/Snapdeal is not.

    A lot of startups lose the battle, of this partiality.

    As simple as that.

  29. Swain Hater Neutrality Rebel says:

    Premise Mr Swain! Or have you lost it to the Airtel babus? Next time you need to make an important call or an emergency one hope Airtel offers you a free-ride on its ferris wheel instead which you can use to jump off and end your miseries once and for all.

    This reads more like a Banalogy.

    You Airtel swains lived off Re1 SMS-es & exploited VoIP long enough for the fat, greedy, inept babus to thrive for the next generation. We don’t want you and it scares me to think how you guys would be exploiting consumers in Africa. Good people in Africa, if you’re reading this, please do NOT let this another corporate monster to take root in your continent. Say NO to Airtel in your countries. Big fat corporations like them (+ Reliance India) can hold back entire societies with their unjust exploitation.

    Teleanalysis.com brings out the ‘anal’ in telecos.

  30. Deepak Kumar says:

    @GyanRanjanSwain you cannot possibly think the general public is that dumb. you are trolling aren’t you?

  31. Net neutrality is really important for India like developing country. Please support net neutrality.

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