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Will the JioPhone violate Net Neutrality? Our take on what shouldn’t be allowed

Over the past couple of days, several people have reached out to me, asking about whether the JioPhone, the much awaited 4G feature phone announced by Reliance Jio, violates Net Neutrality or not. Two financial research entities (Deutsche Bank and Kotak), have already flagged Net Neutrality concerns, but to be honest, I don't know if there's cause for concern just yet. This is because we don't have enough information on the phone and how JioPhone(s) may or may not limit users. From an applications and services (i.e. content) perspective, we know that a Rs 153 recharge pack for JioPhone gives user unlimited data, free voice/video calls and a subscription to Jio apps. What we don't know is whether other applications will be allowed on it or not, whether users can download and run apps from the open Internet, or whether users will be able to flash the ROM and install another operating system and the data plan remains valid. There are unconfirmed reports about an applications store from Jio, who's Operating System is based on KaiOS (a fork of the Firefox OS) but we don't know how this will function. Net Neutrality from a Network perspective  Net Neutrality mandates that networks don't give a competitive advantage to any particular user: As Prof Ajay Shah pointed out, networks are meant to be exchanges of data, and trust in the functioning of the network remains as long as they remain neutral. Thus, the network must not discriminate. From a pricing perspective, this…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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

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