Dutch regulators have banned T-Mobile’s Music Freedom service citing that it violates Dutch net neutrality rules. If you’re not familiar with Music Freedom, the service offers music streaming from participating brands free of data charges to T-Mobile customers. Brands like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Apple Music all can be streamed by T-Mobile users without that data being counted against the user’s allotment. T-Mobile has a similar program in place for video as well, where you can stream video free of data charges, as long as that video is played in 480p.
The AFM said the practice, often called “zero rating” is a violation of Dutch net neutrality rules, because it puts rival services such as Spotify at a competitive disadvantage.
Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Netherlands, which had introduced the product on Oct. 10, must stop offering it or face penalty of 50,000 euros ($52,000) per day, the AFM said.
Zero rating is shaping up as one of the major battlegrounds for European telecommunications companies as they seek ways to attract customers. The Dutch net neutrality law unambiguously forbids the practice, but European Union rules are less clear.
T-Mobile has been known to offer these programs in an effort to lure customers away from other competing mobile carriers. Music Freedom has been scoffed at in the past with many claiming T-Mobile is violating net neutrality rules. It seems the Dutch courts finally took offense to the service and will be charging T-Mobile on a per day basis until the program is terminated.
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