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T-Mobile can continue to offer its Data-free Music service


The ‘Data-free Music’ (in Dutch: Datavrije Muziek) service of Dutch telecom provider T-Mobile does not violate European rules on net neutrality, and can therefore continue to be offered. This is the outcome of an investigation conducted by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).

About the Data-free Music service

In October 2016, T-Mobile launched its Data-free Music service. With this service, T-Mobile customers can stream music that does not count against their data plans. This is called zero-rating. Under Dutch law, zero-rating is not allowed under any circumstances. In April 2017, a Dutch court ruled that this Dutch law is at odds with the European regulation on net neutrality. ACM subsequently tested the service against European rules. The outcome of this investigation is that the service does not violate European rules on net neutrality: the service is available to all music-streaming providers, and the service does not reduce end-users’ choice.

Request for enforcement filed by Bits of Freedom

Dutch digital-rights organization Bits of Freedom had asked ACM to prohibit T-Mobile’s service on the basis of the European rules. ACM has turned down the request filed by Bits of Freedom, as the outcome of the investigation is that the Data-free Music service does not violate European rules.

About the European rules on net neutrality

On April 30, 2016, the European regulation on net neutrality came into force. In addition, BEREC, a collaboration between European telecom regulators, issued on August 30, 2016, its interpretation of the European rules. This interpretation can be found in the BEREC guidelines.