In the dispute for the client, applications offers free internet

Retail companies and banks pay for internet browsing to stimulate consumption


                                                                                        By Bruno Rosa ( bruno.rosa@oglobo.com.br)


   To increase sales, companies are even offering internet for free. Just like the strategy used by popular providers in the late 1990s who offered a free connection, retail sites, banks, beauty networks and even a gas distributor decided to pay the cost of their customers access to the cell phone. In some cases, business volume increased up to 40% only with the help of the extra incentive. Study of technology company Qualcomm points out that internet 0800 has the potential to move around 1 million gigabytes per year in Brazil. In others words, enough space to store a billion minutes of music

   Netshoes, Mercado livre, Privalia, Bradesco, Natura, among others, decided to invest in this strategy after verifying that most Brazilians do not use the internet on a continuous basis, since it depends on Wi-Fi to surf the web . But to have this free access, the customer must download the application from these companies on the mobile phone. So, all data consumed within this environment will not be discounted from the package of postpaid plans or prepaid credits, as these companies pay directly to the teles.

   Oren Pinksy, director of Qualcomm for Latin America, explains that although Brazil has almost 243 million cell lines in use, about 67% of this total is prepaid, which does not use the internet as often as postpaid customers. In this way, companies start to lose revenue because they do not generate business.

    - There are already 20 applications that have gambled on free navigation in the country, and that number is expected to increase four times this year. The companies make a deal with the teles and pay for the data consumed by their customers on the platforms - says Pinsky, noting that each tele must earn more than $ 10 million in the first moment with the arrangement. 

   Among retailers, the bet is growing. Netshoes, an online sportsbook store, has invested in sponsored consumer (with customers of all telecoms) as it realizes that the phone has become the first doorway for consumers to enter the site. Andre Petenussi, IT director at Netshoes, says that with the initiative, the share of mobile phone access totaled from 10 percent to 46 percent between 2014 and 2016: - This rise was pulled by the free internet.

   In Mercado Livre, says Daniel Ferian de Aguiar, Senior Manager of Marketing, in five months, the volume of data trafficked on the site grew 40% since the company made an agreement with Tim and Vivo. Now, negotiate with Oi and Claro:  - The application download has increased by 30%.


Internet Neutrality in Discussion

   In Natura apps, more than 180 thousand of people have been using free navigation since February. Privalia, in fashion, says it wants to expand its investments, as it now offers free internet only to Vivo customers.

   Banks are also mindful of the move. Santander, which has just launched the service, plans to increase its total digital customers from 6.9 million to 8.7 million. Itaú studies the matter. Bradesco, which started offering convenience three years ago, celebrates the results of the strategy.

    - The idea of the service started because there is a cost barrier and data infrastructure. We went from three million customers to ten million from 2014 to March this year. They are more than 18.5 million transactions a day - says Rubia Steiner, Manager of Bradesco's Digital Channels.

   But the use of free internet has reignited the discussion about net neutrality. Some argue that offering data for free does not mean prioritizing access to a particular group. For others, free access already constitutes discrimination, hurting the principle that the network should be neutral. - Everyone has to be treated the same way. The subject matter today has two understandings. - highlights Daniel Pitanga, from Siqueira Castro.

   According to the lawyer Luiz Felipe di Sessa, of the Souza Cescon, the Civil Landmark of the Internet does not make it clear if the internet charging hurts the neutrality: - Companies say they are not privileging access. But there are those who argue that offering something for free would already be a differentiation. The practice benefits the consumer, but it can also induce it.

   For Pinsky, from Qualcomm, net neutrality is not hurt, as there is no user differentiation. It says that the user only has free access to these applications if he has at least $ 0.01 of credit. - If the client is zeroed, the free internet does not work - he explains.



23 May 2017

O Globo