Fair trade watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking at whether telecom and internet service providers are engaging in unfair business practices by providing preferential treatment for select mobile applications and websites.
The development comes at a time when some telecom operators have entered into tie-ups for offering free access to certain mobile apps and websites. Such activities have raised concerns on net neutrality. The last refers to equal treatment for all internet traffic.
The matter was at a preliminary stage, he added. CCI, which keeps a watch on unfair business practices, orders a probe only if there is prima-facie evidence of a violation of competition norms.
Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel launched Airtel Zero, an open marketing platform that allowed customers to access many mobile applications for free, with the data charges being paid by start-ups and large companies.
Over the past few months, operators such as Reliance Communications and Uninor have partnered internet companies such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Wikipedia to offer free usage to consumers.
Such moves are being seen as against net neutrality.
Bharti Airtel on Thursday said its Airtel Zero platform was focused on offering customers free access to mobile apps and the debate that the platform violated net neutrality was unrelated.