Zero rating: does it help or hurt consumers and competition? Evidence from Chile, Netherlands and Slovenia

Roslyn Layton Zero Rating TPRC

Earlier this month I was pleased to present my paper on zero rating co-authored with Silvia Elaluf Calderwood of the London School of Economics at the annual TPRC and fhi360, a leading international development organization focused on improving outcomes in the world’s poorest countries.  The research distilled the 5 essential charges against zero rating and tested them in the three countries where zero rating has been banned.  The five purported harms are

  • The operator that offers zero rating will win market share.
  • The zero rated service win market share.
  • The presence of zero rating precludes the emergence of new applications and services.
  • Users do not go to non- zero rated content. If Facebook is free, they don’t venture beyond it.
  • Operators that zero rate their own content foreclose other content.

See the document that Silvia and I submitted to the Indian regulator as part of its net neutrality proceeding earlier this year.  See also the chapter I wrote for the book The African Mobile Story.

For more resources on zero rating and mobile in developing countries, here are some further articles.

On mobile broadband and networks:

Breathtaking progress with wireless networks (Richard Bennett 3/24/2015)
Innovations in mobile broadband pricing (Daniel Lyons 3/18/2015)
Zero rating: Who bears the cost of bans? (Roslyn Layton 8/19/2015)
Zero rating: Narrowing the digital divide in the mobile broadband market (Daniel Lyons 1/12/2015)

On mobile networks and the developing world:
IGF highlights how developing countries use zero rating programs to drive Internet adoption (Roslyn Layton 9/4/2014)
In Chile, net neutrality widens the digital divide (Daniel Lyons 6/2/2014)
What mobile broadband in Africa can teach America about fiber to the home (Roslyn Layton 12/26/2013)
Some good news about Africa: The amazing mobile Internet (Jeff Eisenach and Evelyn Smith 5/15/2015)