Last year, one large mobile operator in Canada started to zero-rate its
own mobile TV offering. It appears that routers kept counting all the
data, but that the company then subtracted usage generated by its video
servers to come up with billable Gigabytes for each user.
(This was quashed by the regulator in Canada)
In the last week, another mobile operator announced it was zero rating
approved music streaming services (Spotify, Google Play and a few others).
If you are dealing with "foreign" content that comes from servers you
don't control, what are the "best practices" to zero-rate content from
multiple outside sources ?
To make matters more interesting, the FAQ for that service indicates
that if you listen to a music stream that exceeds 128kbps, you MAY be
charged for the data, and that you will be charged to listen to videos
that could be offered by that service, and for non streaming data such
as album covers, list of songs etc.
Would this point to specific IPs (streaming servers for low quality
128kbps sound) ? How scalable is this when you start to have a whole
bunch of source IPs whose traffic is to be zero rated ?
Or would another way of doing this to setup private routes into the
ISP's network for each approved service, so the data would enter through
a different interface and be counted separately ?
Or, and this is my most important question: Is it possible with current
networking software to zero rate any data flow that is less than a
certain value (eg: 128kbs) ?
Or would current software require network operator to get 5 minute usage
for each user and only bill if average data rate during last 5 minutes
exceeded 128kbps ? (which means that your music is billed if you also
listen to netflix at same time since total data flows are greater than
Of note: not all customers get this treatment, only those with higher
end packages. Those with lower end packages are charged for usage by
those very same services.
And for the record, this isn't to setup a similar system, it is to
better understand the issue for a regulatory challenge.