Zero rating, while not an official term, commonly refers to the practice of exempting some data from charge on a mobile subscription, is nothing more than price or service differentiation. It can be recognized in the concepts of value added services, loss leader, freemium, toll-free calling, coupons, or cross-subsidization. In fact the term zero rating was first used by in the 1950s to refer to essential goods such as books and equipment for the handicapped that would be exempt from value added taxes in the European Common Market. While about half of the world’s mobile operators use the practice in some way at some time, zero rated offers represented well less than 1 percent of the offers in the marketplace. It would seem that we should welcome mobile operators’ attempts to add value to their offers and lower prices, but strangely a few don’t like these consumer-centric business models. I have discussed the topic in a variety of media recently and what’s behind the critique.
State of the Net Panel with Facebook, Wikimedia Foundation, and Stanford Fireside Chat: Zero Rating & the App-Accessed Internet – Can It Be Squared with Principles of Net Neutrality?
Podcast with TechFreedom on Internet Coupons
Blog on TechPolicyDaily: Three Myths About Zero Rating
Blog on Forbes 1-800 Data: From Toll Free to Data Free