TRAI issued Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016

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Who: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
What: Issued the Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016
When: 8 February 2016

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 8 February 2016 issued the Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016. 

This would disallow service providers to offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content being accessed by a consumer.

The Authority issued the Regulations:

• Aimed at ensuring that consumers get an unhindered and non-discriminatory access to the internet; and

• Intend to make data tariffs for access to the internet non discriminatory on the basis of the content.

The Authority also mandated the following:

• No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.

• No service provider shall enter into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered or charged by the service provider for the purpose of evading the prohibition in this regulation.

• Reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency services at times of public emergency has been permitted.

• Financial disincentives for contravention of the regulation have also been specified.

TRAI will keep a close watch on the implementation of the mandate by the service providers and may undertake a review after two years or at an earlier date as it may deem fit.

Background

Earlier, TRAI issued a Consultation Paper on Differential Pricing for Data Services on 9 December 2015.  It was an opportunity for submitting written comments and counter comments given to the stakeholders till 7 January 2016 and 14 January 2016 respectively.