MTS says won’t block VoIP calls, offers OpenWeb data plans

openWith operators like Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular asking the government to be allowed to block certain web applications that compete with their own offerings, data-centric service provider MTS has declared that it will never block any web traffic on its network.

Sistema Shyam TeleServices – which runs its services under the MTS brand – said the concept of net neutrality had its “full support and commitment”.

To underline its support, it launched “OpenWeb” data plans that gives the user the freedom to use his data for whatever he wants.

“The competitively priced data plans offer customers not just high quantum of data but more importantly the absolute freedom to surf, call & chat freely and as per their choice. This initiative is part of a larger customer centric program of MTS that aims at enabling and empowering netizens to have equal access to all lawful websites and services on the internet and reaffirms its commitment to uphold internet’s ability to foster innovation, provide access to knowledge and freedom of speech,” it said.

MTS did not forget to take a dig at bigger competitors like Bharti Airtel Ltd, which had come out with a controversial ‘Zero’ plan that promised paying websites easy access to Airtel customers.

“OpenWeb Plans can be best described as “Anti-Zero Rating Plans”, designed to provide absolute freedom to customers to surf, call & chat freely and fairly,” SSTL said.

At present, technically, all plans in India are indeed ‘openweb’ as any discrimination by the ‘pipe provider’ to favor any website vs others will invite action from the competition commission of India. As a result, MTS’ plans are as good as any other company’s plans.

However, in case the government allows telecom companies to block websites or applications that compete with them, such offerings will be useful.

What distinguishes the internet from all earlier communication platforms is that the basic internet platform is supposed to be neutral to all content that flows over it, this in essence, is the principle of net neutrality.

From a telecom operator’s perspective, Net Neutrality implies that the Company that connects a user to the internet does not get to control what that customer does on the internet.

However, a panel in the Department of Telecom wants to give operators the right to block websites and apps that compete with operators’ other offerings. For example, voice communication apps such as WhatsApp compete with voice calls offered by operators.

A DoT panel had said that operators should be allowed to block such services as they should be allowed to make profits through voice calls. The government of India has said that it has not either accepted or refused to accept the findings of the panel.

“I am extremely happy to announce MTS India’s full support and commitment to Net Neutrality,” said Leonid Musatov, Chief Marketing & Brand Officer – MTS India.

“As an organization, we are deeply committed to all the tenets of this principle which calls upon all stakeholders to treat all data on the internet, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”

Leonid further added “Given that, MTS was the first telecom operator in India to pursue a “Data centric-Voice enabled” strategy, hence it was also expected from us to show the way and launch OpenWeb data plans which are net neutral in the truest sense.”

SSTL is currently in talks with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications.

Prepaid                                               Postpaid                       
Price Data Validity Price Data Validity
Rs. 299 1 GB 28 Days Rs. 599 10 GB unlimited 1 Month
Rs. 399 2 GB 28 Days Rs. 799 14 GB unlimited 1 Month
Rs. 499 4 GB 28 Days Rs. 999 24 GB unlimited 1 Month
Rs. 699 7 GB unlimited 28 Days Rs. 1999 30 GB unlimited 1 Month
Rs. 999 20 GB unlimited 28 Days      

The launch of MTS’ Open Web data plans also marks the roll out of an extensive retailer training and awareness program involving 40,000 retailers in all telecom circles where MTS provides services – Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UP West, Kolkata & West Bengal.

Designed in six local languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Bangla and Tamil; the training program aims to explain the significance of Net Neutrality and MTS’ commitment to it. As part of the program, retailers would also be educated on the benefits of OpenWeb plans over other data plans available in the market.