In the wake of the ban imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Free Basics, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the social media giant will now focus on other parts of the internet.org programme.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, Zuckerberg said: “We recently had a ruling in India that says there should be no differential pricing for services, even if you are trying to give some basic services for free, that's not going to be allowed. So, that's disappointing for the mission of what we are trying to connect people and is a major setback in India.
"In India, we are going to focus on different programmes, so there are parts of internet.org that we are focused on... we want to work with all the operators there.”
Facebook pulled the plug on Free Basics in India – the company's largest market outside the US – two weeks ago after the telecom regulator barred discriminatory pricing of data services, which included a ban on zero-rated products such as Free Basics.
Zuckerberg, however, made it clear that Facebook was in India to stay.