Reliance Communications was asked to submit the terms and conditions of the Free Basic services of Facebook by the telecom sector regulator TRAI. The telco offers the service on its network, and it is asked not to offer the same until the carrier submits the required details.
A person aware of the matter stated that RCom informed TRAI that it is providing the Free Basics services of Facebook on November 23. In response to this, on December 21, the regulator asked the carrier not to offer the same till the terms and conditions of the plan are submitted, and this also includes the tariff plans.
On December 7, the carrier replied that it has not launched the services commercially, but the person stated that the mobile phone operator is yet to submit the necessary details.
Today, TRAI has written to RCom reminding it to submit the details of the Free Basics services. It was again asked not to provide the services commercially till the regulator has cleared the same. Especially, there is a consultation process that is going on related to the matter, added the person.
As per another person, RCom received a letter from TRAI 15 days back and it was asked to hold the commercial launch of the service. Though RCom is not promoting the serviced for any commercial gain, the service is available on its network, and anyone who wants to access the same can do so.
Right now, RCom is the only telco providing the Free Basics services in the country. The Free Basics service was earlier known Internet.org. It is banned in the country for violating net neutrality that is a concept under which the internet service providers treat all the traffic equal. This service gives access to many websites and not Facebook alone without mobile data charges.
TRAI is trying to address the issue of net neutrality and explore the zero rating plans as well as schemes as the Free Basics services are a violation to the net neutrality principle. TRAI has pointed out that the telcos are offering many plans providing discounted tariffs to some websites.