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Google to launch ‘Zero Rating’, a system where you are not charged for data consumption during app usage

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If you’ve got a smartphone, you definitely access the internet from your device- if you’ve got sufficient data plans. McKinsey analyzed data, and data from the International Labor Organization, a survey involving around 8,000 smartphone owners revealed that expensive data is among one of the biggest reasons why people hesitate in downloading or using apps on their phones.

According to a report from The Information, Google might be looking to capitalization of data costs, so that people actually use their smartphones- lucrative apps are amazing and everything, but keeping up with them or downloading them is a headache with current plans. Over 25% of the people surveyed from India, Thailand, Egypt, Indonesia and Philippines face this problem during their smartphone experience.

Engineers at Google have been discussing the idea with app developers in these developing markets to enable reduction, and possible cost elimination of data, using something called ‘zero rating’- a practice where mobile network operators do not charge end customers for a pre specified data volume for specific applications or internet services, via the operator’s wireless network in metered data plans and tariffs.

Enter Google- it reportedly has plans to launch this gambit in India, involving some of the biggies like Rebus, Flipkart, Ola cabs among others. Using these apps usually rockets data costs sky high, and developers are ready to bear cost overheads for them. This ‘zero rating’ system is expected to roll-out from Google’s low-budget initiative launched in India last year, the Android One.

What will actually go on is- when you access Flipkart on your phone, Google will identify and track your data costs and pay your carrier for them, along with the third party developer, which will be expected to carry some of the overheads. Google is the intermediary here- app developers will not have to make zero rating arrangements with individual providers.

Whether Google has discussed this initiative with wireless carriers yet, that remains unconfirmed. Although the first tests will be carried out on Android One, expanding out later.

Condensed version- someone paying for my data plans so that I can access, download and update all the apps I want? Deals don’t come and better than this.


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