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.