The so-called zero-rating options StreamOn and Vodafone Pass are facing imminent demise. After the German Federal Network Agency banned the marketing of the rates in response to an EU ruling in September 2021, both models could soon disappear from the market.
StreamOn and Vodafone Pass facing the end
For around five years, the German Federal Network Agency has been examining so-called zero-rating options such as StreamOn from Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Pass. The reason is that it sees network neutrality at risk because the two tariffs do not treat data traffic equally. Now they have banned the marketing of the options, as the authority announced on April 28, 2022.
“We are ending the unequal treatment of data traffic associated with zero-rating options,” said Klaus Müller, president of the Federal Network Agency. “We expect that providers will now offer tariffs with higher data volumes or cheaper mobile flat rate tariffs.” At the same time, he said, it is assumed that customers will ultimately benefit from the ruling.
Until July 01, 2022, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone must now comply with the order of the Federal Network Agency and remove the two zero rating options from the market. Existing contracts may continue to run until the end of March 2023 at the latest.
The Federal Network Agency assumes that the discontinuation of both models will ultimately have a positive effect on the German mobile communications market. It is hoped that it will ultimately be possible to achieve nationwide coverage with mobile flat rates. Similar to what is already the case with fixed-network telephony.
So-called zero-rating options enable the use of media content, as well as social media or online games on the smartphone, without consuming any data volume. In the case of Vodafone, the model is also limited to Germany.
Reaction to EU ruling
In its ruling of September 02, 2021, the European Court of Justice had declared the zero-rating options StreamOn and Vodafone Pass illegal. The tariff models were not compatible with the “equal treatment of data traffic.”
Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have already reacted to the ruling and, in response to a request from Golem.de, have indicated new measures for further customer groups or, in the case of Vodafone, have announced an analysis of the orders by the Federal Network Agency.