Zero rating: Federal Network Agency prohibits StreamOn and Vodafone Pass

Image: Deutsche Telekom

The Federal Network Agency today banned the marketing of the zero-rating offers “StreamOn” from Deutsche Telekom and “Vodafone Pass”. Marketing for new customers must be stopped as early as July, while existing customers have until the end of March 2023. The BNetzA expects positive effects.

The ban on marketing both zero-rating offers follows a decision by the European Court of Justice on September 2, 2021, according to which Deutsche Telekom’s “StreamOn” and “Vodafone Pass” are incompatible with the principle of equal treatment of data traffic. Because the Court of Justice understands the principle of equal treatment as a general principle of equal treatment, it prohibits unequal treatment between different types of transport within a tariff, both in technical terms and in terms of tariffs.

With the zero rating options offered by Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, on the other hand, data traffic is treated unequally in that certain services and applications such as music, video streaming and social media apps, unlike all other services and applications, are not available the data volume included in the tariff is taken into account and can therefore be used indefinitely.

No remarketing of zero rating after July 1st

Specifically, the Federal Network Agency has decided that the remarketing of “StreamOn” and “Vodafone Pass” should be stopped by July 1, 2022. The two zero-rating options should then no longer be bookable via any sales channel. Existing customers are also affected by the decision, but are given a longer period.

Deadline for existing customers until the end of March 2023

Marketing to existing customers must be discontinued by the end of March 2023. The Federal Network Agency explains the longer period in this case by saying that this is necessary in view of the large number of existing customers, also to enable a consumer-friendly transition to other tariffs.

Federal Network Agency expects more data volume

In the latter point, the Federal Network Agency expects positive effects after today’s decision. According to the Federal Network Agency, it is to be expected that the trend towards tariffs with higher data volumes and cheaper mobile flat rates will accelerate. It is also noted that flat rates have been widespread in the fixed network for a long time, while this has not yet been the case in mobile communications.

ComputerBase has asked Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone for comments on the Federal Network Agency’s decision and will update the article when it becomes available.

Updated 4/28/2022 12:26 p.m

Update 04/28/2022 12:40 p.m