Videos and music from selected media companies are not calculated for mobile data volumes. For critics this distorts the competition.
For German Telekom’s mobile customers, the message sounds good. The Group is launching a new offer, which does not include the use of music and videos for the mobile data volume. “Stream On” is the name of the new service that customers can access for free from April 19th.
But the thing has at least one catch: The offer applies only to the contents of more than 20 selected partners. These include video services such as YouTube, Netflix, Sky Go, Amazon Prime and the ZDF Media Library. Music, users can now listen to the streaming services of Apple or Amazon without burdening their data volume.
Spotify users have dis-advantaged:
It is particularly astonishing that the music streaming service Spotify is missing the start. Finally, with the Swedes in 2012 Telekom offered a package for the first time, in which the data are not calculated. Former Telekom CEO René Obermann also sat for a long time on the Spotify Supervisory Board. Why the long-term relationship now seems to be not quite as tight, both companies did not want to express themselves. “We are currently talking to Deutsche Telekom”, explains a Spotify spokeswoman. According to an insider, however, technical reasons may be the cause. Because it had already been a part of the previous cooperation. Thus the heard music was not calculated on the data consumption, but the pictures of the album cover nevertheless.
Telekom expects further partners to join the company until the start. The US is the model, where the subsidiary T-Mobile has been offering such an offer for more than three years. In the meantime, the content of more than 120 partners is not included in the data volume. “We are revolutionizing the German mobile market,” says Telekom CEO Niek van Damme.
Critics Complain About Distortion Of Competition:
As a revolution, critics also see the advance. “This is bad for the competition, because certain partners are preferred and all others are discriminated,” says Markus Beckedahl, spokesman for the Verein Digitale Gesellschaft. The SPD network politician Henning Tillmann, a member of the board of the association D64, also criticized the offer as an entry into a two-class Internet. “This promotes monopolies and hurts Germany as a business location,” says Tillmann. Because the market would be distorted by the practice called “zero rating” in the specialist yargon, especially at the expense of start-ups.
The Telekom replies that the offer is basically available to any interested partner free of charge. Beckedahl doubts, however, that smaller providers are treated equally. Konstantin Notz, network politician of the Greens, calls for an in-depth investigation by the Federal Network Agency. The spokesman of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, is also skeptical. “Zero rating must not lead to discrimination in services,” says Klingbeil. “We have to look at the tariffs very closely”.
SPD Politician Calls For Ban:
Under the current legal situation, the offer is permissible. The EU had passed directives on so-called “network neutrality” last year, which should ensure that all providers on the Internet were treated equally. However, the Zero Rating was spared. The only condition is that if the volume of data is exhausted and the speed is throttled, this must also apply to the preferred partner contents. “We consider the EU rules on grid neutrality,” explains a telecom spokesman. In addition, the Group had also submitted the new offer to the Federal Network Agency.
Critics Tillmann replies that one should leave the decision, which contents they use, to the customer. Instead of preferring individual partners, mobile telephony providers would have to increase their data volume. Tillmann and the SPD-close club D64 want to force the providers also in need: They demand a ban of the zero rating. In the Netherlands Zero Rating 2016 was banned. As a result, telecom operators have significantly increased the volume of data available to their customers.