(No.2 of 2016)

In exercise of the powers conferred upon it under sub-section (1) of section 36, read with sub-clause (i) of clause (b) of sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) of section 11, ofthe Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997), the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India hereby makes the following regulations, namely:-


1. Short title and commencement. - (1)These regulations may be called the Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffsfor Data Services Regulations, 2016 (2 of 2016). 

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions. - (1) In these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires, -

(a) "Act" means the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997);

(b) "Authority" means the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India established under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Act;

(c)"closed electronic communications network" means a
communications network where data is neither received nor
transmitted over the internet;

(d)"consumer" means a consumer of a service provider and includes its customers and subscribers;

(e) "content" includes all content, applications, services and any other data, including its end-point information, that can be accessed or transmitted over the internet;

(f) "data services" means services offered or provided to a consumer using any equipment, technology or medium, including wireless and wireline technologies, to access or transmit data over the internet;

(g)"discriminatory tariffs for data services" means charging of different tariffs by a service provider for data services based on the content accessed, transmitted or received by the consumer;

(h) "internet" means a global information system that is:

             (i) logically linked together by a globally unique
                address, based on Internet Protocol (IP) or its
                subsequent enhancements or upgradations;

           (ii)able to support communications using the
            Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
           (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent enhancements or
           upgradations, or other IP compatible protocols;

(i)"licence" means a licence granted or having effect'as ifgranted under section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (13 of 1885); 

j) "licensee" means any person licensed under sub-section (1)of section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (13 of 1885) for providing specified public telecommunication services;

(k) "regulations" means the Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016;

(l)"service provider" means the Government as a service provider and includes a licensee;

(m) "tariff' means the rates and related conditions at which data services are offered or provided by the service provider, including free data, usage charges, refunds, installation fees, deposits, rentals, and any other related fees or service charges.

(2)Allother words and expressions used in these regulations but not defined, and defined in the Act or rules, regulations and orders made thereunder, shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Act or such rules,
regulations or orders, as the case may be.


3. Prohibition of discriminatory tariffs.- (1) No service provider shall offer
or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.

(2) 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 to
the consumer on the basis of content:

Provided that this regulation shall not apply to tariffs for data services over
closed electronic communications networks, unless such tariffs are offered or
charged by the service provider for the purpose of evading the prohibition in
this regulation.

(3) The decision of the Authority as to whether a service provider is in
contravention of this regulation shall be final and binding.

4. Exemption for certain content. -Notwithstanding anything contained in
regulation 3, a service provider may reduce tariff for accessing or providing
emergency services, or at times of grave public emergency:

Provided that such tariff shall be reported to the Authority within seven
working days from the date of implementation of the reduced tariff and the
decision of the Authority as to whether such reduced tariff qualifies under
this regulation shall be final and binding.


5. Consequences of contravention of these regulations.-( 1) If a service
provider is in contravention of these regulations, the Authority may, without
prejudice to the terms and conditions of licence, or the Act or rules or
regulations or orders made, or directions issued, thereunder, direct the
service provider to withdraw such tariff and also order such service provider
to pay, by way of financial disincentive, an amount of rupees fifty thousand
for each day of contravention, subject to a maximum of rupees fifty lakh:
Provided that no order for payment of any amount by way of financial
disincentive shall be made by the Authority unless the service provider has
been given a reasonable opportunity of representing against the contravention
of the regulation.

(2) The amount payable by way of financial disincentive under these
regulations shall be remitted to such head of account as may be specified by
the Authority.

6. Review.-The Authority may review these regulations after the expiry of a
period of two years from the date on which these regulations come into effect,
or on any earlier date as it may deem fit.

7. Interpretation.-In case of any doubt regarding interpretation of any of the
provisions of these regulations, the decision of the Authority shall be final and

8. Savings. - Nothing contained in these regulations shall affect any packs,
plans or vouchers with unexpired validity subscribed by a consumer before
the date of commencement of these relations

Provided that no such pack, plan or voucher shall be valid beyond a period of
six months from the date of commencement of these regulations.

Note: The Explanatory Memorandum explains the object and the reasons of
the Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016
(2 0f 2016)


A. Introduction and Background

1. Section 11(I)(b)(i) of the Act as amended by the Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India (Amendment) Act, 2000 empowers the Authority to ensure
compliance of terms and conditions of the licence issued to the licensee under
the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Section 11(2) of the Act also empowers the
Authority to notify rates at which telecommunication services shall be
provided. While the tariff regime has generally been left to forbearance,
regulatory oversight is required so that the tariff framework follows the broad
regulatory principles of non-discrimination, transparency, non-predatory,
non-ambiguous, not anti-competitive and not misleading. The terms of the
licences for providing telecommunication services also require access to be
provided to subscribers to all lawful content available on the internet without

2. Some practices have come to the notice of the Authority wherein differential
tariffs were offered based on the content./websites /applications/platforms .
Primarily, two key principles of tariff regulation - non-discrimination and
transparency were getting impacted from such practices and required
consultation. Taking note of these, the Authority on9.12.2015 released a
Consultation Paper (CP) on Differential Pricing for Data Services inviting
comments from stakeholders on whether service providers should be allowed
to have "differential pricing for data usage for accessing different websites,
applications or platforms" and otherrelated issues.

3. Stakeholders were requestedto provide their written comments by 30.12.2015
(later extended to 07.01.2016) followedby a period of one week for filing counter
comments (14.01.2016). In this process, the Authority received a large number
of responses. Majority of the individual comments received did not address
the specific questions that were raised in the consultation paper. Other
responses received included 15 service providers, 8 service provider
associations and 42 organisationa/Institutions, A total of 25 counter-
comments were also received. The comments and the counter-comments
received from the stakeholders were placed on the TRAI's website- The Authoritythen conducted an Open House Discussion (OHD)
on 21.01.2016 wherein severalstakeholders expressed their viewson the issues posed
for consultation. Further, post OHD time upto 25 th January 2016 was given to
furnish additional comments.Thekey issues raised in the CP and the views of
the stakeholders thereupon are examined in the succeeding paragraphs.

B. Issues raised in the Consultation Paperand stakeholder response

4. Different tariff schemes of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPsjservice
providers) offer zero or discounted tariffsto certain contents of certain
websitesj applicationsj platforms. There are a number of variations of these
schemes. Under one design, an entity creates a platform wherein content
providers and TSPs can register. Subject to the approval of the platform
provider, the customers of the TSPs, registered on the platform, will be able
to access those websites (either in full or only certain content of those
websites) which are listed on this platform. Another method is to provide
discounted data offers by the TSPs for some identified websitesjapps. It
enables the TSPs to select certain content providers (either through the
platforms or directly) and offer discounted access schemes to these
websites j applications j platforms.

5. These differential tariff offerings have positive as well as negative impact.
On the one hand, it may appear to make overall internet access more
affordable by reducing costs of certain types of content and enabling people
who have so far not been able to use internet services and content, to access
at least part of the internet. This could have the benefit of expanding and
accelerating internet access, as first-time. users of the free internet could
experience its benefits and start paying for full access. On the other hand,
differential tariffs result in classification of subscribers based on the content
they want to access (those who want to access non-participating content will
be charged at a higher rate than those who want to access participating
content). This may potentially go against the principle of non-discriminatory
tariff. Secondly, differential tariffs arguably disadvantage small content
providers who may not be able to participate in such schemes. This may thus,
create entry barriers and non-level playing field for these players stifling
innovation. In addition, TSPs may start promoting their own websites j appsj
services platforms by giving lower rates for accessing them. The CP also
touched upon the subject of offering alternate models for accessing the
internet without resorting to differential tariffs.

6. With this background, there were specific questions raised in the CP that
touched upon following issues:
• Whether the TSPs should be allowed to have differential pricing for data
usage for accessing different websites, applications or platforms? Ifyes,
then what measures should be adopted to ensure that the principles of
nondiscrimination, transparency, affordable internet access,
competition and market entry and in vation are addressed?

• Suggest alternative methods/technologies/business models, if any,
other than differentiated tariff plans, available to achieve the objective
of providing free internet access to the consumers.

7. The range of responses received from the stakeholders on the first issue of
allowing TSPs to charge differential tariffs for data services for accessing
different websites, applications or platforms varied widely. On the one hand,
the TSPs and their associations, some organisations Zinstitutions and
individuals have strongly supported the practice of allowing differential tariffs
on the ground that it is allowed in other industries/segments, it helps in
product innovation, competition and brings more customers on the internet,
thus enhancing consumer welfare. In addition, there is no evidence of harm
to the stakeholders and it also helps in garnering investment to build
networks. Some stakeholders have suggested that differential pricing should
be allowed only in specific cases for example, for accessing essential services.
8. On the other hand, certain service providers, their associations,

organisations / institutions and individuals have vehemently opposed the
practice ofdifferential pricing by the TSPs. It has been argued that differential
pricing for data services is anti-competitive, non-transparent, discriminatory
and against content innovation. The TSPs are custodians of public resource
infrastructure that should be made available without discrimination, With
differential pricing, the basic principle of internet as a neutral end-to-end
carrier of information is violated and make the TSPs as gatekeepers. Such
practices restrict consumer choice and is against the freedom of speech/
expression and media pluralism. Some stakeholders have also raised privacy

9. Taking a middle ground, certain stakeholders have suggested that
differential pricing should be allowed on a case to case basis; and for services
to be in public interest. Charging lower prices for locally-peered content,
providing web-access for free, in exchange for advertisements should be
allowed. Some have suggested that differential pricing along dimensions of
time, locally dependent pricing and application dependent pricing should be
allowed. Some others have suggested that instead of zero-rating there should
be equal-rating wherein certain amount of free data is provided with
unrestricted access to any content .

10. Regarding measures to be adopted for ensuring non-discrimination,
transparency, affordable internet access, competition and market entry and
innovation in the case of differential pricing for data usage, it has been
suggested by the TSPs and some organisations that ex-ante case by case
examination of tariff plans should be undertaken by the regulator. Others
have suggested that there should be focus on consumer consent before
services are accessed and better disclosure of terms and conditions of the
differential plans. It has been suggested by some stakeholders that there
should be independent oversight mechanisms over TSPs undertaking
differential pricing.

11. On the question of suggesting alternate models other than differential
tariff plans with the objective of providing free internet access to the
consumers, most of the TSPs and some organisations have opined that there
is no other (or better) business model. While others have suggested that
providing free/open data on agreement with content providers can be an
alternate model. Suggestions on providing data from usa sponsored fundi
as subsidy/as Direct Benefit Transfer/through National Optic Fiber
Network/ through multiple data centers/ allowing differential pricing for
rural/non-commercial/educational users etc. have been suggested. It has
also been proposed that free/ open data can be made available to the users
via the TSPs under the TRAImonitoring (via advertisements/surveys/direct
coupons). It can also be a general Corporate Social Responsibility approach
or a donation driven approach.
12. On the general question ofany other issue to be considered in the present
consultation, a number of responses have been received that touch upon
points already enumerated above. TSPs are of the view that regulatory
oversight and reporting to TRAIis enough and have opined that differential
pricing is recognized and applied across utilities like water, electricity, gas etc.
It has also been opined that the scope of the consultation should be
broadened to include internet usage at all levels. It has further been suggested
that Government should invest in infrastructure and rollout mobile
broadband networks. There must be increased Government focus in
improving internet penetration.

C. Analysis of the issues

13. The Authority has considered all the comments received during the
consultation process, international practices and various research studies on
the subject. Taking these inputs into account, the Authority has formed the
following views on this issue, that deal with the social, technological,
economic and legal implications of content-based price differentiation. The
regulatory approach taken on the basis of these views has also been outlined
in this memorandum.

14. The general economic concept of 'price differentiation' covers all practices
where a seller of goods or provider of service charges different prices from
different consumers, either for exactly the same good or service or for slightly
different versions of the same good or service. The 'service' being referred to
in the context of differential pricing of data services is the units of data or bits
that a person consumes in order to access the internet. This understanding
is also qualified by the fact that the current regulation refers to a particular
category of price differentiation - that is content-specific.

15. The appropriate regulatory response on the issue of differential pricing
must necessarily be grounded in a sound understanding of the basic
architecture of the internet. Any proposed changes in business models and
commercial practices must also be seen in the context of the need to preserve
the unique architecture of the Internet as a global communication network.
The following are some of the key relevant features that form its structural

(a) End-to-end design principle (minimum intervention principle) :As per this
principle the "intelligence" in a network should be located at the ends of the
system. The communications protocols themselves (the "pipes" through which
the information flows) should be as simple and general as possible. This
design feature enables content providers to undertake permission-less
innovation and facilitates free choice by consumers. The application of this
principle, together with the minimum intervention results in a network that
is transparent to the host application communication and provides for a
general, application agnostic transport service

(b) Adoption of universal network protocols: The use of open protocols
developed collaboratively by users has enabled private networks to
communicate with each other through standard packets and flow rate. This
is what ledto the creation of the decentralised architecture of the Internet
thatwe see today.

(c) Transit and peering arrangements: The physical infrastructure that enables
the transmission of data packets through the Internet involves a large number
of actors and processes, of which a service provider and its consumers
represent only one edge. Service providers are connected with each other and
with Internet backbone systems through a web of transit and peering

(d) Other governing principles: include Heterogeneity support principle;
Robustness and adaptability principle; Unambiguous addressing principle;
Loose Coupling principle; Simplicity principle; Connectionless packet
switching and distributed adaptive routing; Network ofcollaborating networks
- interconnection via gateways which focused at the connectivity functionality.

16. In the light of the above principles, following two specific aspects require

(a)First, unlike traditional markets where there are, for the most part, distinct
producers and consumers, on the internet, users are also content producers.
Social media websites, for example, are built largely based on user content.
Regulation will thus have to be cognizant of this fluidity.

(b)Second, the design and architecture ofthe internet underlines the fact that
the global internet comprises an amalgamation of networks that share a
common addressing and routing system, which allows all networks to
interconnect with each other directly or indirectly. Every service provider is
dependent on other networks, through a series of peering and transit
arrangements, to deliver and receive data from an end-point to a user. Every
packet of data, regardless of its nature, is routed through multiple networks.

17. Aparticular TSP which is offering data services to the consumer does not
control the internet infrastructure in its entirety. It is dependent on several
other networks to facilitate this task. Thus, allowing a rSp which is at one
edge of the internet to charge differentially for data that it does not alone
.process, could compromise the entire architecture of the internet itself. Were
other TSPs across multiple tiers allowed to do this, then the openness of
internet as we know, would be altered. Allowingprice differentiation based on
the type of content being accessed on the it?-ternet,would militate against the
very basis on which the internet has developed and transformed the way we
connect with one another.

18. One of the key arguments forwarded for differential pricing is that it will
serve as an effective tool for increasing internet penetration and providing
affordable access to new users and thus benefitting the consumers. Users
who learn ofthe benefits ofthe internet would then proceed to the paid version
of the "full" internet. Further, it has also been argued that differential pricing
of data services will enable TSPs to develop innovative packages to suit the
requirements of different categories of users and hence foster growth in the
usage of internet services.

19. In India, given that a majority of the population are yet to be connected to
the internet, allowing service providers to define the nature of access would
be equivalent of letting TSPs shape the users' internet experience. This can
prove to be risky in the medium to long term as the knowledge and outlook of
those users would be shaped only by the information made availablethrough
those select offerings. Further, to the extent that affordability of access is
noted to be a cause for exclusion, it is not clear as to how the same users will
be in a position to migrate to the open internet if they do not have the
resources to do so in the first place.

20. Several stakeholders have highlighted the potential anti-competitive
effects of allowing differential pricing. It is argued that this will create an
unevenplaying field among content providers and service providers - large,
well-established content providers and service providers or those that have
the benefit of large networks will find themselves in a much stronger
bargaining position as compared to new or smaller businesses. This may
create significant entry barriers and thus harm competition and innovation.
This poses an even greater concern in cases where there might be a conflict
of interest in the service provider's role as a service provider as well as a
participant in a vertical market where it acts in competition with other content
providers. New and smaller service providers will face crucial challenges in
view of the significant market power enjoyed by bigger service providers and
content providers.

21. It has also been stated by some stakeholders that users will benefit from
the provision of free services. It will also allow service providers to offer
volume-based discounts on popular applications through content-specific
data packs and enhance user choice through the freedom to choose suitable
data services. These assertions need to be tested in light of the market failures
existing in the internet services sector. Firstly, the 'information asymmetry'
between service providers and users leaves users with inadequate information
to make an informed choice. Secondly, internet access is not a 'search good'
.but rather an 'experience good' which can be understood properly only after
being used. Thus, the 'information asymmetry' problem cannot be adequately
solved through disclosure or transparency requirements, as many consumers
may not be in a position to understand the information being presented to

22. Economic theory tells us that the value of a network, ofwhich the internet
is the biggest example, is an increasing function of the number of persons on
it. Differential pricing may reduce the network effects associated with the
internet, as usage of the broad internet as it exists may go down, and thus
impose negative externalities upon society at large. This concern has been
voiced in several comments made by the stakeholders.

23. Similarly, allowing the keepers of the infrastructure to differentiate on the
basis of content, would impose negative externalities on the rest of the
network as internet serves as infrastructure for many other markets. This is
especially so since the internet is a fluid and dynamic space where a user
could be a simple subscriber at one moment (when she accesses the internet
through a data pack), and become a content provider (when she writes a blog
post) at the next. 

24. In formulating a regulatory approach towards differential pricing on the
basis of content, the following license conditions and legal principles are

24.1 Clause 2.2(i) of the ISP Licence Agreement, while defining Internet
access,provides for access tothe Internet and all content available without
any access restriction. Similarly, Clause 2.1 of Chapter IX of the Unified
Licence Agreement provides that "The subscriber shall have unrestricted
access to all the content available on Internet except for such content which
is restricted by the Licensor/designated authority under Law." Restrictions
on accessing all content on the Internet could take several forms one of them
being price based differentiation. Price-based differentiation would make
certain content more attractive to consumers resulting in altering a
consumer's online behaviour. While this might not be a major concern in a
country where the majority already has Internet access, in a nation like India
which is seeking to spread Internet access to the masses, this could result in
severe distortion of consumer choice and the way in which users view the
Internet. While not a direct restriction on a subscriber's access to the Internet,
such practice acts as an indirect restrictionby affecting theway consumers
view content online.

24.2 As per Clause 10 of the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 (TTO),
service providers are prohibited from discriminating between subscribers of
the same class, and any classification of subscribers should not be arbitrary.
While all differential tariffs for telecommunication services are not prohibited,
certain differential tariffs have been held to be discriminatory. A subscriber
accessing content that is differentially priced, at reduced or nil rates, would
be paying lesser or no charges for such content while another subscriber (or
the same subscriber) would be paying regular charges for accessing similar
content that is not offered at a reduced or nil rate. This kind of differentiation
in tariff amounts to discrimination.

24.3 Several responses have drawn a critical link between the internet and its
role in preserving the constitutional guarantees of right to free speech and
expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. As observed by the
Supreme Court, in the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v.
Cricket Association of Bengal, (1995) 2 SCC 161, para 201 (3)(b) allowing
citizens the benefit of plurality of views and a range of opinions on all public
issues is an essential component of the right to free speech. This includes
the right to express oneself as well as the right to receive information as
observed by the Supreme Court in the Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay)
Put. Ltd. v. Union of India, (1985) 1 SCC 641 (para 68) case. Both of these
components viz., right to express oneself as well as the right to receive
information arecritical elements in the use of the internet. The Authority is
of the view that use of internet should be in such a manner that it advances
the free speech rights of the citizens, by ensuring plurality and diversity of
views, opinions, and ideas.

D. An Appropriate Regulatory Response

25. Those supporting differential tariffs have submitted that the existing legal
framework contains sufficient safeguards to check against any potential
market abuse. They accordingly suggest that the Authority should continue
its practice of forbearance and intervene only when required, on a case-by-
case basis. The contrary view, however, is that differential tariff for data
services goes against the basic features of the internet and it needs to be
restricted upfront on account of the far reaching consequences that it is
bound to have on the structure of the Internet and the rights of stakeholders.
Once such practices are allowed it may not be possible to quantify, measure
or remedy the consequences in the short to medium term .

26. On the basis of the views expressed by stakeholders and relevant
international experience, the Authority has two options- imposing an ex ante
bar on differential tariffs or barring such tariffs on a case-by-case basis.

27. Intuitively, the case-by-case approach may seem reasonable. However,
this approach creates substantial social costs as noted by Barbara Van
Schewick in "Network Neutrality and Quality of Service: What a Non-
Discrimination Rule Should Look Like," Stanford Law Review, 2015. First, a
case-by-case regime will fail to provide much-needed certainty to industry
participants. In the absence of a clear rule setting out the permissible and
impermissible business practices, service providers may refrain from
deploying network technology. This would be due to the fear that their
conduct may subsequently be construed as being discriminatory as per the
case-by-case analysis. Second, it will create high costs of regulation on
account of the time and resources that will be required for investigating each
case. It will also lead to further uncertainty as service providers undergoing
the investigation would logically try to differentiate their case from earlier
precedents. Third, there is also the concern that this approach provides a
relative advantage to well-financed actors and will tilt the playing field against
those who do not have the resources to pursue regulatory or legal actions.
This may include end users, low-cost innovators, start-ups, non-profit
organisations, etc. The Authority believes  that those concerns are significant.

28. While certain jurisdictions such as the United States and the European
Union have adopted variations of the case-by-case approach, several others
such as the Netherlands and Chile have barred differential pricing outright. A
study of the international experience is no doubt useful in formulating an
informed strategy. However, each country has devised its own suitable
regulatory strategy on the subject. Asuitable regulatory framework for India
therefore, must necessarily be based on our country-specific factors, the need
to equitably increase internet usage and penetration, foster competition, allow
start-ups to flourish and uphold the law of the land, the substantive
arguments regarding which have beendealt with above.

29. Taking into account responses in the consultation, relevant international
experience, expert opinion, research studies and all other inputs, the
Authority has concluded that a clear rule should be formulated-the practice
of offering or charging discriminatory tariffs for data services based on
content, is to be prohibited. Therefore, TSPs are prohibited from offering
different tariffs based on the content, service, application or other data that a
user is accessing or transmitting on the internet. Tariff for data services
cannot vary on the basis of the website/application/platform/or type of
content being accessed. For example, a : consumer cannot be charged
differently based on whether she is browsing social media site A or B, or on
whether she is watching streaming videos or shopping on the internet.

30. Further, applying the principle that what cannot be done directly, cannot
also be done indirectly, TSPs are also prohibited from entering into
arrangements that have the same effect as charging discriminatory tariffs on
the basis of content. Thus, an arrangement by which, instead of a service
provider differentially charging tariffs to the consumer, other arrangements
are made by the TSPs which in effect make accessing some content cheaper,
for example through a refund to the consumer or other methods, are likewise

31. Differential tariffs being offered for data transmitted over closed electronic
communications networks, such as intranets are not prohibited by these
regulations. Though the prohibition on discriminatory pricing of data services
does not apply to such networks, which are not accessing the internet, if such
a closed network is used for the purpose of evading these regulations, the
prohibition will nonetheless apply.

32. At the same time, to strike a balance and in view ofthe need to bring more
users on the internet, this prohibition shall not apply to other forms of tariff
differentiation that are entirely independent of content. For instance,
providing limited free data that enables a user to access the entire internet is
not prohibited. Further, for one set of services, the benefits of reduced or nil
tariffs outweigh its costs- in emergency situations, whether it be that faced
by an individual, or where a grave public emergency occurs as a result of
natural or man-made disasters, free or inexpensive access to services
becomes critical. An exception has therefore been introduced in these
regulations to allow for price differentiation under such circumstances.

33. These Regulations will come into effect immediately. From the date these
regulations come into effect, no new launches of prohibited packs, plans or
vouchers shall be permitted. Presently, different types ofvouchers as specified
in TePR, 2012 are offered to pre-paid consumers. In addition, data tariffs are
offered to post-paid consumers either as part of a plan or by way of add-on
packs.The Authority is aware that there would be some such packs, plans
and vouchers already subscribed and paid for by the consumer, the validity
of which is specified and at present unexpired. The rationale for the savings
provided in the regulations is to protect consumers who have spent money
and bought these offerings. It is clarified that no new offerings of this nature
shall come within the purview of such savings. Further, no plan, pack or
voucher already subscribed by a pre-paid or post-paid consumer providing
differential data tariff based on content, shall be in operation beyond a period
of six months from the date of these regulations coming into effect. This
provision has been made in the light of the tariff protection available to the
existing consumers as per ITO.

34. Keeping in VIew India's large number of internet users and content
producers, both of which are rising exponentially, the Authority has taken a
view that prohibition of discriminatory tariff for data services is necessary to
ensure that service providers continue to fulfil their obligations in keeping the
internet open and non-discriminatory. 


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