Telekom and Vodafone in court: judgment could hit many customers hard

Telekom and Vodafone in court: judgment could hit many customers hard

Telekom and Vodafone customers are facing major changes. The European Court of Justice ruled today that so-called zero-tariff options are not compatible with EU law. It could mean the end for StreamOn from Telekom and the Vodafone Pass options.

A big bang for Telekom and Vodafone: free-of-charge options violate EU law

For the mobile communications industry, the bang from Luxembourg was likely to have been audible for a long time: there, the judges of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided today in several proceedings in which German courts had previously asked for clarification. The bottom line: free -of-charge options violate the equal treatment of data on the Internet and are therefore not permitted in the EU (source: Tagesschau).

Specifically, it was about allegations that Vodafone was treating customers differently through different partner contracts for roaming. In addition, it was stated in the room that the mobile phone provider had banned customers from tethering - that is, the use of WLAN hotspots in their contracts.

The Telekom, however, had argued with the Federal Network Agency about the speed reduction in versions of the StreamOn tariffs. The customers did not incur any costs, but the partner offers contained in the various StreamOn options could only be used at reduced speed.

StreamOn and Vodafone Pass bypass data volume limits

In general, however, the judges are now criticizing that it is not permissible to circumvent the volume of data contained in contracts. The following applies to the services of Telekom and Vodafone: If you book the additional options, the data usage for certain services is not billed for, but for others. The ECJ argues that the data from other providers would be disadvantaged.

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It boils down to an end for the free-of-charge options . The decisions of the ECJ do not automatically apply in Germany. The judges in Cologne and Düsseldorf, where the original proceedings are pending, must take them into account in their judgments. It is already practically clear that things cannot go on as before with the free-of-charge options.

For some of the offers that are still available, this means that at least basic adjustments are necessary. It would be conceivable, however, that Telekom and Vodafone would decide against continuing the offers at all. With the expected German judgments, there should soon be more clarity, but customers have to be prepared for changes one way or another.

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