Telekom may not offer stream-on tariffs unchanged

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Deutsche Telekom must adjust all stream-on tariffs or withdraw them completely from the market. The Higher Administrative Court in North Rhine-Westphalia has ruled that the Stream On product violates current laws in several respects. However, the sales ban of Stream On is provisional for the time being, because it is still a summary proceeding and the main proceedings are still in progress. The current resolution is however first of all incontestable, so the court in a press release to the verdict.

Telekom had threatened to discontinue the Stream On service if the conditions demanded by the Federal Network Agency had to be fulfilled. This is due, among other things, to the prices for international roaming. If Telekom stays with it, Stream On will soon disappear from the market. The Federal Network Agency had demanded that there should be no throttling of videos and that stream-on services should also apply in other EU countries. After the court decision, a spokesman for the network agency said: “We will now quickly enforce the adaptation of the product against Telekom.

The dispute concerns whether Telekom’s zero-rating offer violates the European requirements on network neutrality and EU-wide roaming. According to the Federal Network Agency, Telekom must not reduce the transmission quality of video content in certain tariffs. In addition, the service must also be available within the EU. This means that data traffic to certain providers outside Germany must not be counted towards the data volume.

In a decision issued in December 2017, the Federal Network Agency issued the conditions. On January 31, 2018, Deutsche Telekom filed a complaint against this with the Administrative Court. Although this is an urgent case, it took the Cologne judges almost nine months to reach their decision. With the ruling of the Higher Administrative Court in North Rhine-Westphalia, the summary proceedings went through all possible instances (file number 13 B 1734/18).

Deutsche Telekom had announced the free add-on option Stream On in April 2017. Selected music and video services are not included in the regular data volume. However, the data transfer rate is reduced in certain tariffs. In addition, the flat rate does not apply in other EU countries, although roaming without a surcharge has been mandatory since 2017.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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