T-Mobile Netherlands wins zero-rated data appeal - Mobile World Live

T-Mobile Netherlands wins zero-rated data appeal

21 APR 2017

T-Mobile Netherlands won an appeal against a regulatory decision to ban its zero-rated music streaming offer, after a court decided EU net neutrality laws took precedence over Dutch rules.

Its Datavrije Muziek service, launched in October 2016, allows free music streaming from a variety of sources, which does not count towards customer data usage.

Following an investigation, the Dutch Consumer and Markets (ACM) regulator ruled the offer broke the country’s net neutrality regulations – which bans zero-rating and states all internet traffic should be dealt with equally.

It ordered T-Mobile to discontinue the service in December and threatened a fine of up to €50,000 per day if it did not comply within 20 days.

T-Mobile maintained the deal was within the EU rules, which should take precedence over the Dutch law and took the case to appeal.

The operator argued under European regulations zero-rating is permitted as long as no distinction is made between several similar services. It added Datavrije Muziek allowed customers to stream free music from a number of different sources.

Following the court’s decision, the company is free to continue the service.

T-Mobile Netherlands CEO Soren Abildgaard said: “This statement is a breakthrough in the Netherlands and in Europe. Last October, we took a big and bold step to reach a new and very innovative service, against the prevailing belief in the established order, Datavrije Muziek. We firmly believed that this is in the interests of our customers.”

In a written statement, the company added it would “never lose sight of the original principles of network neutrality: keeping the internet accessible to everyone.”

The regulator holds the right to appeal the decision.


Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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