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Zero Rating – a Blessing in Disguised Presentation Ghana IGF


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Presentation at the 2016 Ghana IGF

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Zero Rating – a Blessing in Disguised Presentation Ghana IGF

  1. 1. Zero Rating A BLESSING IN DISGUISED Yusif Amadu University of Ghana 0244659245
  2. 2. What is Zero-rating? The practice of offering free access to certain popular online services for customers of particular mobile networks. Several major service providers have entered into arrangements with mobile network operators in a variety of countries to deliver low-data-usage.
  3. 3. Why Zero-Rating? • Zero Rated content entices users to go online and is an attractive venue to accustom users to the experience of Internet services(Galpaya, Helani. 2015) • Zero-rating brings down the cost of access to information in less developed countries. A user of Wikipedia Zero, for example, has unlimited or no-cost to access everything in the online encyclopedia
  4. 4. How Zero Rating functions • Telephone companies in joint agreement with content provider such as Facebook offer different flavours of zero rated content (In Ghana, Airtel and Tigo offer free access such as Facebook, Imo, WhatsApp) • Zero Rated customers consumes mobile Internet on a capped and metered basis for example MTN Ghana Sunday special • A specific volume of data can be downloaded or uploaded for a given value (or per month) anything above this data cap is paid for • Zero rated content refers to content that doesn’t count towards the users’ data cap.
  5. 5. Addressing Concerns about Zero Rating • Zero-rated programs do not offer full access to the open Internet, • Challenge fundamental functions of the web such as the ability to link from one source of content to another elsewhere on the web • Restrict subscribers to some form of “walled garden”, where users have access to a limited number of applications or Services for example App Store.
  6. 6. • Create twisted incentives for subscribers to access the “free” services of identified partners instead of competing services and hence risks anticompetitive effects. • Challenges fundamental principles of net neutrality, and may present particular development concerns by giving dominant web services an advantage over emerging local competition
  7. 7. Zero-Rated Services Are Not New • Way back in 2010, Facebook launched Facebook Zero in 45 countries globally, to give people free access to Facebook on feature phones. • Then in 2012, Wikipedia teamed up with Orange to offer Wikipedia Zero on smartphones in Uganda. This zero-rating of Wikipedia content was exactly the same as Facebook Zero. • Google jumped on the zero-rating services with Free Zone in the Philippines and South Africa, giving free access to Gmail, Google Search, and Google+. (Wayan Vota on January 14, 2016)
  8. 8. Facebook and Zero Rating • Facebook Zero not only increases the number of Internet users in the short run, but, causes a long-run increase in Internet adoption (in Asia 50% of people who got access to Free Basics, they moved to the broader Internet within the very first 30 days after they got the first experience with the service) (Internet Governance Forum 2015) • Facebook insists that its intention with Free Basics is to bring the power of the Internet to everyone, leading to everyone's development, and growth of the nation.
  9. 9. Zero Rating and Competition • Some net neutrality advocates have challenged Zero Rating by stating that it violates the principle of non-discrimination and • Risks anticompetitive effects and limits freedom of expression. • Zero Rating programs typically do not raise serious concerns with respect to anticompetitive effects. • Rather, concerns about diversity of expression appear to be based more on speculation than empirical evidence, and to ignore the positive effects of Zero Rating
  10. 10. Conclusion Zero-rating programs function as transitional models: • provide initial incentives or awareness-raising marketing; • encourage individuals to begin using Internet-connected services; • The best way to increase the number of people with access to the open Internet, we do not have to overlook the continuing need to demonstrate the potential benefits of Internet access to people in economically and geographically diverse contexts;
  11. 11. • Zero-rating gets more people online, 6 million new users in 14 months in the Philippines. No ICT4D initiative has accomplished that, ever; • Zero Rating is a market-driven mechanism for achieving economically efficient and socially desirable outcomes; • Zero Rating improves economic efficiency by supporting continuing investment and innovation in both networks and content while expanding Internet access to consumers who would otherwise be unserved; • Zero Rating critics have not demonstrated any harm to competition or consumers from Zero Rating, or even shown that any individual competitors have been disadvantaged. Stop hating the player and change the game