The Indian Department of Telecommunications, one report suggests, will recommend that zero rating (sponsored apps) should not be lawful in India.
The agency apparently will adopt a policy banning zero rating under network neutrality rules that ban all paid prioritization or app throttling.
The committee report still must be accepted, but some observers believe it will be adopted as policy.
Up to this point, Bharti Airtel had raised questions with its proposed and then withdrawn “Airtel Zero” program that would have allowed application providers to underwrite usage of their apps.
Google has a similar zero rating initiative called Google Free Zone that has been offered in a handful of countries like Kenya, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines.
Separately, Telenor Pakistan has launched Internet.org in Pakistan, making available to Telenor Pakistan’s customers free access to 17 basic online services including Accuweather, BBC, BabyCenter &MAMA, Malaria No More, UNICEF Facts for Life, Bing.com, ESPN Cricinfo, Mustakbil, ilmkidunya, Telenor News, Urdupoint Cooking, OLX, Facebook, Messenger, Wikipedia and Telenor WAP MobilePortal, using either the 2G or 3G platforms.
“Zero rated apps” such as provided by Internet.org have proven effective ways of introducing non-Internet users to the benefits of using the Internet. Under the Internet.org program organized by Facebook, mobile customers can use apps without paying for a data plan.
But such policies are viewed as a violation of network neutrality principles by some.