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Eros Now and Gaana added to T-Mobile’s zero-rating program Binge-On

As Indian streaming services like Hotstar and ALT Balaji look to capture audiences abroad, particularly in the United States, streaming services Eros Now and Gaana have joined American telecom provider T-Mobile's Binge-On zero-rating program. To refresh, zero-rating is the practice of not charging users for consuming data from a particular website or service. It has been prohibited in India since last year when telecom regulator TRAI banned discriminatory pricing of data. Karan Bedi, Eros Now's COO, told MediaNama that there was no commercial deal with T-Mobile, but that "we find it to be an advantage". None of Eros Now's Indian-origin competitors are on the Binge-On program. Asked if this was a fair competitive advantage for Eros Now to have, Bedi argued, "This is not something that we have negotiated as a special case with them. It's a large platform with tens of participants." He declined to comment on other existing and potential Binge-On participants. Net neutrality The problem with zero-rating is that it contributes to fragmenting the Internet into different parts, making Internet providers the gatekeepers of what users watch and browse, which violates net neutrality. This is likely to get worse as the US's telecom and communications regulator FCC shut down an Obama-era investigation into zero rating programs like Binge-On, and later moved to repeal net neutrality regulations that were introduced in 2015 by the previous FCC chairman. It also skews the playing field in favour of those apps and services which can afford to either pay to be zero-rated, or…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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