The Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016 was formulated to ensure that tariff frameworks are non-discriminatory, transparent, non-predatory, non-ambiguous, not anti-competitive and not misleading.
These regulations follow the Consultation Paper on Differential Pricing for Data Services and issues raised by stakeholders after it was brought to notice that differential tariffs were offered based on the content, websites, applications, and/or platforms. Supporters of differential tariffs argue that it can increase internet penetration if they are able to access certain parts of the internet for free. It can however also classify subscribers based on the content they want to access and create barriers to entry for small providers, which goes against the notion of an open and non-discriminatory internet.
Taking into consideration all the comments and the consultation process, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) analyzed the social, technological, economic and legal implications of content-based price differentiation and concluded that prohibition of discriminatory tariff for data services based on content is needed. The prohibition however does not apply to differential tariff not based on content, with intentions to continue increasing internet penetration. Also, there are exemptions to the prohibition, such as accessing and providing emergency services.