Facebook has finally pulled out Free Basics from India after getting barred from operation by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The body has banned discriminatory pricing of data services, which includes a ban on zero-rated products.
“Free Basics is no longer available to people in India,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement Thursday.
This development happened after Reliance Communication had made the decision to make Facebook’s Free Basics platform a paid one.
When accessed to comment on this move by Facebook, the spokesperson at RCom chose not to comment. It had previously said that subscribers will have to pay applicable data charges for accessing websites or apps through the zero-rated Free Basics platform, once necessary technical modifications are done over the next few days.
The company is the only distributor for the service in India and had been asked by the regulatory body to keep the service in abeyance until and unless the clearance was issued. And following the latest regulation released on Monday, which is effective immediately, Free Basics can’t be offered in India in its present free form.
Facebook has already shown its disappointment with the regulation that was mandated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. This move has dealt a huge setback to the social networking giant’s plan of promoting their Free Basics service in the country.
FB says Free Basics is designed to connect the unconnected billions but their motives have been criticised by a lot of critics. They say that by accepting it, a walled garden of only selected websites or apps will be created and the concept of net neutrality will be violated.