Germany Bans Two Vodafone and DT Offers
German regulator Bundesnetzagentur banned Deutsche Telekom’s StreamOn offer and the Vodafone Pass on net neutrality grounds. The operators were given strict deadlines to stop selling and eventually discontinue the services for existing users.
The regulator cited a European Court of Justice declaration in September 2021 which had found the two deals contravened European Union rules on net neutrality. The ECJ provides guidance in such cases with the national authorities left to make final judgments and take appropriate action. Bundesnetzagentur has given operators until 1 July to halt marketing and stop selling the deals to new customers. Existing users must be taken off the offers by end-March 2023. The move brings to an end a long-running row into the legality of the plans.
Vodafone Pass and StreamOn give users unlimited access to specific content without being charged for data, with the content varying depending on the bolt-on selected. Net neutrality rules state all traffic must be treated equally regardless of its origin. Bundesnetzagentur president Klaus Muller said it was putting a stop to the unequal treatment of data traffic associated with zero-rating options, adding he expected providers will now offer tariffs with higher data volumes or cheaper mobile flat rates, which will benefit consumers.