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ACM requires telecom company Tele2 to adjust its conditions

Telecom company Tele2 will adjust its conditions about sharing a smartphone’s internet connection with other devices such as laptops and tablets. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) had reminded Tele2 that internet providers cannot restrict customers from sharing the internet connection on their smartphones with other devices. Sharing one’s internet connection is called ‘tethering,’ and is a right that consumers have under the European regulation on net neutrality.

Internet users cannot be restricted

According to European net neutrality rules, internet users cannot be restricted in their online behavior or in the choice of terminal equipment they wish to use to go online with. This means they should be allowed to choose what devices they wish to use to go online with. These can be, for example, smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers. They are additionally allowed to share their smartphones’ internet connections with other devices. Telecom companies are allowed to require their customers to use devices that meet European technical specifications.

Investigation into conditions of all major telecom companies

In its fair-use policy, Tele2 had laid down said restrictions, enabling it to take action against abuse. Such conditions conflicted with European rules on net neutrality. ACM will launch an investigation this summer into the other conditions of all major Dutch telecom companies. All deals on offer must comply with the European rules on net neutrality.

About ACM and net neutrality

Within the European Union, internet providers are not allowed to treat different forms of data traffic differently. This means they cannot unnecessarily block or restrict access to the Internet. ACM will make sure providers comply with these rules. BEREC, the European network of telecom regulators, has issued guidelines in which the European net neutrality rules are explained.