Belgium’s largest operator Proximus was cleared of breaking EU net neutrality regulations with a favourite app offer, after the country’s regulator concluded the zero-rating deal was not discriminatory.
The Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) investigated the company’s deal, which allowed customers to select one favourite app – either Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or Pokémon Go – and receive free data for its usage up to a defined limit. After the cap, all data used was charged at the standard rate.
In its statement, the BIPT said: “There are no elements at the moment indicating that the zero rating of apps by Proximus endangers the Internet users’ rights to consult information and content freely, to share it and to use and provide the applications and services of their choice.”
EU rules on net neutrality state all internet traffic should be treated equally and, following interpretation from national regulators, a number of operators have already been told to discontinue zero-rating offers, including Sweden’s Telia earlier this month and T-Mobile in the Netherlands in December.
Last week, Telenor’s Hungarian arm was found to be in breach of the EU guidelines by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority for its Mychal package – which offers 1GB of free Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter and Viber – and its music package MyMusic Start.
After the relevant allocation is used, the authority found the speed of all internet services was slowed, or in the cases of music services, blocked depending on the individual’s tariff.