According to the new research conducted by Mozilla, internet users in India tend to go for quality net content online instead to freebies.
The research reveals that users are downloading the promoted apps and referring friends purely to earn monetary rewards which they convert to talk time or data or e-commerce transactions.
However, limitations may arise as users have to refer friends in order to earn rewards and most 'pyramid-like' reference systems have a limited shelf-life before eventually collapsing.
"We were worried that rewarding people for the use of apps would have a 'tunneling effect', where users don't explore the wider internet," said Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia.
Galpaya also added, "But such fears are premature in India, where we see diverse content being accessed even by users of these apps."
The research further added that unaffordability and the lack of digital skills were amongst the reasons for not being online. Reliance Jio, which offered free 4G data during the period of fieldwork, served as a counterpoint to zero-rated offers, which subsidized specific content. Many of those who owned a Jio SIM was already online and used it as a secondary SIM to enhance their user experience. Some were not able to capitalize on the availability of free data via Jio, due to difficulties in affording a 4G-compatible device.
"While TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has ruled that zero rating is too harmful to consumers and competition to be allowed, there's still a need to find alternative ways of connecting the unconnected. From this research, it doesn't look like earned reward applications will be the answer," said Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager, Mozilla.
The research was conducted in December 2016 with people from five locations in and around New Delhi which include Sriniwasipuri, Rajouri Garden, Chattarpur, Keshav Puram and Shakarpur.