The idea of zero-rating is fairly simple.
What is Zero Rating?
Zero rating is the practice of not charging customers for data use on specific websites and services by Internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile service providers (MSPs).
What Is Zero Rated Site?
Zero-rating is when an ISP does not count a specific app, suite of apps, or specific content against a consumers monthly data cap. Essentially, the practice makes certain data exempt, while other data would count against the cap.
Zero rating can be used by providers to create more tempting limited data plans for customers while favoring their own, affiliate or popular sites.
Here’s everything you need to know about zero-rating,
Zero rating used to be a means for ISPs to favor content within their networks in locations where international data transfer costs were higher, but this has declined along with the fair use of zero rating.
Currently, zero rating is presented as a solution to expensive basic internet subscriptions and data limits on mobile plans.
it can also be and used as a way to enable customers to visit unlimited sites that they might use frequently. Largely in developing countries, Facebook is one example of a zero rating website
Trials of Facebook Free Basics found that many users never ventured beyond the zero-rated site. Critics say this gives Facebook an arguably unfair advantage over smaller, less popular websites.
Advantages Of Zero Rated Sites
- Using the zero rated sites, ISP wont count a specific app, suite of apps, or specific content against a consumers monthly data cap.
- Free access for users: the most obvious (and least controversial) benefit to end-users is the ‘free’ access to content.
- Zero rated Site Increases Internet usage.
- Facilitating entry of content providers: zero rating could also bring significant benefits to content platforms that need to reach a critical mass of users (before being able to deliver value), by providing an avenue for subscriber growth.
- Promoting competition between ISPs: from the perspective of ISPs, providing zero-rated content offers an additional way to differentiate their services from those of competitors (as with other retail promotions such as bundling and exclusive offers).
Disadvantages Of Zero Rated Sites
Zero rating is heavily criticized for several reasons:
- It gives providers another means to create walled gardens, which favors their own and affiliate content.
- It negatively affects user privacy and security as providers use deep packet inspection to determine if users are on zero-rated sites and disallow the use of encryption.
- It is anti-competitive and anti-innovation, favoring established sites and services that can pay to have content zero-rated. Critics see it as only a temporary solution to a problem created by mobile providers arbitrary data limits.
Some Examples Of Zero Rate Sites
Zero-rating offers can deliver material benefits, but can also present legitimate concerns. In light of the benefits that zero rating can deliver—to innovation, competition, and ultimately consumers—regulators should remain mindful of the importance of establishing an economically justifiable theory of harm, and therefore an understanding of the degree of any competition concerns due to zero-rating offers.