Heavy blow for Telekom and Vodafone: The Federal Network Agency bans the zero-rating options “Telekom StreamOn” and “Vodafone Pass”. New and existing customers are affected. Are there now tariffs with higher data volumes or cheaper mobile flat rates? That’s what Telekom and Vodafone say.
The typical zero rating options from Telekom and Vodafone include various music streaming offers.
© Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com
The Federal Network Agency has announced that it will ban the zero-rating options (also known as “zero tariff options”) “Telekom StreamOn” and “Vodafone Pass”. Both mobile phone companies will soon no longer be able to offer these offers, which are included in mobile phone contracts or can be booked in addition, to new customers. In the case of current existing customer contracts, “Telekom StreamOn” and “Vodafone Pass” must be terminated by a specific date.
“The offers violate network neutrality because they do not treat data traffic equally,” the Federal Network Agency justified its decision. The authority under its new boss Klaus Müller hopes: “We expect that the providers will now offer tariffs with higher data volumes or cheaper mobile flat rate tariffs. Consumers will benefit from this.”
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Statement from Vodafone
PC-WELT asked Vodafone. The answer came promptly: ”
On September 2, 2021, the ECJ ruled that commercial zero-rating offers are no longer compatible with European law and thus with net neutrality. As a consequence of this decision, the German regulatory authority BNetzA has now ordered the discontinuation of the marketing of Vodafone Passes for new customers by July 1st, 2022 at the latest. Existing passes must be terminated by March 31, 2023.
We are currently analyzing the BNetzA’s order regarding the discontinuation of Vodafone passes and will then provide information on further steps. For the time being, everything remains the same for our customers.
” Quote end
Statement by Deutsche Telekom
PC-WELT asked Deutsche Telekom. Telekom answered us as follows: ”
Unfortunately, the Federal Network Agency has largely banned zero-rating offers in Germany. This affects Telekom’s StreamOn offer. According to the new requirements, the company will no longer be able to provide StreamOn. We will inform our customers and partners about the point in time from which the service can no longer be used, taking into account the transition periods specified by the authorities.
We very much regret the discontinuation of the zero rating offer for around four million satisfied users and the almost 500 StreamOn partners. At the same time, Telekom will continue to enable high data consumption and the best user experience with fair tariffs. That is why we are constantly optimizing the experience of our customers through specific measures, e.g. B. give away data volume or permanently upgrade the data volume in tariffs of selected customer groups. The next measures for other customer groups are already being prepared, and affected customers will of course be informed in good time.
” Quote end
These are StreamOn and Vodafone Pass
These “zero tariff options/zero rating options” mean that a mobile communications or Internet access provider does not count the data volume of certain mobile communications applications or categories of mobile communications applications offered by partners of this access provider against the monthly free volume of a mobile communications contract.
Specifically, Vodafone is talking about the “Vodafone Pass” options “Video Pass”, “Music Pass”, “Chat Pass” and “Social Pass”. Deutsche Telekom, in turn, offers its customers an add-on function for some tariffs in the form of a “zero tariff option” called “Stream On” (formerly “StreamOn Music”, “StreamOn Music&Video”, “MagentaEINS StreamOn Music” and “MagentaEINS StreamOn Music&Video” designated). The data volume allocated to audio and video streaming from Telekom content partners is not counted towards the data volume included in the basic tariff.
ECJ decision paved the way
This was preceded by a ruling by the European Court of Justice on September 2, 2021: ECJ – Telekom StreamOn and Vodafone Pass are illegal. At that time, the ECJ ruled that the zero-rating options “Stream On” from Deutsche Telekom and “Vodafone Pass” were incompatible with the principle of equal treatment of data traffic. Both technical and tariff-related unequal treatment between different types of transport within a tariff are therefore prohibited. But it is precisely this unequal treatment that occurs with zero-rating options: “Data traffic is treated unequally in that certain services and applications – in contrast to all other services and applications – are not counted towards the included data volume, i.e. can be used indefinitely,” says the Federal Network Agency.
These deadlines apply from now on
The remarketing of “StreamOn” and “Vodafone Pass” must be stopped by July 1, 2022. The two zero rating options must then no longer be bookable via any sales channel.
The providers have until the end of March 2023 to discontinue the zero rating options in existing customer business. This implementation period is necessary in view of the large number of existing customers, also to enable a consumer-friendly transition to other tariffs, as the authority justifies its decision.