Regulatory challenges of zero rating


Over the past few years, zero rating as a growing trend has become a popular business model for mobile service providers. Briefly, zero rating represents the practice of mobile service providers which consists of providing certain services or applications without charge or when the consumption of data within these services or applications is not included in the monthly subscription.

Zero rating as a practice represents a mutual benefit of operators and content providers. On one hand, it allows the operator to increase the number of users in their network based on these benefits, and on the other hand enables content providers to have more users of their content.

At first glance, zero rating represents a benefit to all stakeholders – operators, users and content providers. In addition to the positive, in order to fully understand this practice we must also understand its negative aspects. We must consider its impact on net neutrality, market and monopoly of certain companies and their services.

Our zero rating research seeks to understand and explain the very negative aspect of this practice.

This research has been done under the grant of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Belgrade as a product of discussions related to “Digital-born Media Carnival” (14-18 July 2017, Kotor, Montenegro).