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25 Jul 2017

JioPhone may go against net neutrality principles, say analysts

Reliance Jio, after disrupting the telecom industry, is taking on smartphone makers with its 4G handset.

However, analysts are crying foul over the lack of details about this new phone and are worried that it will create a "walled garden" for its users.

If true, this violation of net neutrality will not be taken kindly by consumers as well as authorities.

Here's more.

In context

JioPhone may limit users' choices, worry analysts
What raised the flag?


What raised the flag?

Deutsche Bank Market Research in a report to its investors said that they believe the JioPhone will run on a Firefox mobile OS.

The applications on this handset will come from its own store.

JioPhone "goes beyond the traditional connectivity" and will provide a "walled garden" to its users, said the report. Although, it drops hints, but steers from mentioning net neutrality concerns anywhere.


A separate store may mean restrictions

The research firm said that Jio has created an entire spectrum of apps covering areas such as social, content and payment verticals. Therefore, a JioPhone user will most likely end up having very limited freedom, both due to its "refund feature" and the choice of the software platform.

Kotak Institutional Equities opined that this is not something which would sit well with net neutrality.

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Clarification is needed

Net neutrality

Clarification is needed

Not only JioPhone but any phone that has a walled garden, i.e. limited to a set of pre-installed apps, stands at loggerheads with the basic principles of net neutrality.

Kotak Institutional Equities said, "This is too nuanced an area for us to make any definitive comment, but we do believe this aspect would be highlighted by the competitors to the regulator."


Too early to say

It is not yet confirmed whether or not JioPhone will allow non-Jio apps.

Mint's source said that the only limitations that apps on JioPhone will have are of memory, processor, and compatibility with the operating system.

Users will be able to browse anything on the Internet and the handset will allow non-Jio apps. Thus it will not violate net neutrality rules.

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