A few years ago, in 2017, Vodafone put into circulation some add-ons called Pass that allowed use certain apps without consuming data of the contracted bond. First came the Pass for social networks and music, and then those for videos and maps followed. Already then the debate arose on whether or not this kind of bonds could violate the neutrality of the net.
In September 2020, a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) prohibited the Hungarian operator Telenor from marketing these types of packages known as ‘zero fees’ for violating the net neutrality law. That forced Vodafone to slightly modify the conditions of its Pass, but now, again, the CJEU has again ruled against the English operator and Deutsche Telecom in Germany.
The ‘zero tariffs’, in the crosshairs of the EU
Just a year ago, after analyzing a complaint in Hungary against Telenor, the country’s operator that offered data segregated by application, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Telenor’s so-called ‘zero rates’ violated the regulations of Regulation 2015/2120 of Net Neutrality. The reason was that certain services and apps took advantage of the null consumption of data to the detriment of those who were not included in the bonds, which implied inequality of opportunities.
It was the first sentence at the European level that enshrined the neutrality of the net and was linked to the rest of the courts of the Member States. This forced Vodafone to slightly modify the conditions of the Pass vouchers in Spain, so that, from January of this year, if you consume all the data of your rate, you will also browse at a lower speed (16 kbps) in the apps and services included in Pass.
Vodafone Spain modified the conditions of the Pass at the beginning of the year: now, if you consume all the data of your rate, you will also navigate at a lower speed in the apps included in the Pass
With the advent of unlimited data, these kinds of ‘zero fees’ have a marginal weight in the market -as Vodafone itself confirmed to us after the ruling against Telenor-, but with the new ruling that the CJEU has now issued, they could disappear definitively.
Last Thursday, the Court of Justice of the European Union established that the Vodafone Pass and Deutsche Telecom Stream On packages in Germany they violate the community regulation on net neutrality and roaming. The CJEU ruling reiterates, once again, that the zero rates are “contrary to the rules of free access to the Internet.” Right now Vodafone assures us that it is studying the sentence:
“Following the ruling of the European Court of Justice, Vodafone Germany is carefully reviewing the decision. Vodafone is committed to its customers and carefully designs its rates in accordance with the EU Network Neutrality and Roaming Regulations.”
Although in our country, as we said, Vodafone already modified the conditions of Pass at the beginning of the year, this new ruling could cause it to end up withdrawing the four bonds currently marketed in Spain: Social Pass, Video Pass, Music Pass and Maps Pass. From Engadget Mobile, we have contacted the operator and they have told us that, in principle, the judgment of Germany will have no consequences in Spain, but they reiterate that right now Vodafone Pass has lost a lot of share with unlimited data.
Via | Business Indsider