April 10, 2015
CCI chairman Ashok Chawla told PTI that it is trying to understand whether such practices are just sectoral or tariff issues or whether they violate competition norms. The matter is at a preliminary stage, he added.
Competition Commission is looking at whether telecom and Internet service providers are engaging in unfair business practices by providing preferential treatment for select mobile applications and websites.
The development comes at a time when some telecom operators have entered into tie-ups for offering free access to certain mobile apps and websites. Such activities have also raised concerns about ensuring ‘net neutrality’.
While there is no evidence so far to suggest that such activities are unfair, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is trying to understand whether any unfair business practices are involved.
CCI chairman Ashok Chawla told PTI that it is trying to understand whether such practices are just sectoral or tariff issues or whether they violate competition norms.
The matter is at a preliminary stage, he added.
CCI, which keeps a tab on unfair business practices, orders a detailed probe into a matter only if there is prima- facie evidence of competition norms.
Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel launched ‘Airtel Zero’ – an open marketing platform that allows customers to access a variety of mobile applications for free, with the data charges being paid by start-ups and large companies.
Over the past few months, operators like Reliance Communications and Uninor have tied up with players like Facebook, WhatsApp and Wikipedia to offer free usage to consumers.
Such moves are being seen as against net neutrality concept, which broadly refers to equal treatment for all Internet traffic. Giving priority to mobile applications or websites, based on payment is seen as discrimination.
Bharti Airtel today said its ‘Airtel Zero’ platform is focused on offering customers “free” access to mobile apps and the debate that the product violates principles of net neutrality is “unrelated”. (DNA India)