Zuck, Free Basics, India (2)

Free Basics And Facebook’s Waterloo In India
What is limiting the spread of the Internet in India isn’t the cost of mobile data. Cell phone plans and data access are really cheap there. The problem is that most people can’t afford smartphones or tablet computers. But this is changing because prices of computing devices are dropping......Lower-end smartphones can be already purchased for around $50 in India and data access costs as little as 50 cents for 100 MB. A farmer who can afford to buy such a device can certainly afford the data.
Zuck, Free Basics, India

How about this? Any entity, be it Reliance, Facebook, Google or Flipkart, may pay for and make available Free Basics to anyone. There would be a consortium of the leading 20 corporate players that would decide on the details. Any site/app/service may compete to be listed. But since there are only 100 slots available, it will have to meet the data requirements and will have to be sufficiently popular. Free Basics must come with some free data, the amount of which can increase over time. Users may use that free data to go to any site/app they want. The list of 100 itself should be competitive. Unless you stay in the top 50 by usage, you drop off. If you are not in the top 50 for 90 days in a row, you are no longer on the main list, making space for other sites/apps the user might choose. Also, the user should have the option to actively rearrange their list. They might add and delete as they please. A user will also have the option to get Free Basics from multiple providers on the same phone/device.

The upside is you end up with a billion users. I can't think of a better gift to the tech startups in India. So, don't oppose, instead negotiate.


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