Thanks to the StreamOn option, customers with a Telekom cell phone rate plan could previously use streaming services for as long as they wanted without using up their booked data volume. But following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the Federal Network Agency has now declared the option illegal. It will therefore be abolished.
StreamOn violates network neutrality, according to the court. It may therefore no longer be offered by Telekom – not even in existing rates. For customers, the decision means an enormous change, as mobile rates lose significant added value with the elimination of StreamOn.
StreamOn dropped without replacement
StreamOn is a free option that Telekom customers can add to their mobile contracts. Telekom has entered into a partnership with more than 280 streaming and multimedia services, including big names such as Netflix, Disney+ and Spotify, but also Apple Music, Twitch and Instagram. Instead of consuming data volume to use the services, they run on a flat rate across the EU. But this is precisely where the problem lies, as offers like StreamOn do not treat data traffic equally and thus violate network neutrality.
Telekom must therefore stop remarketing the option by July 1, 2022. In existing rates, the option may be offered until the end of March 2023 at the latest. Then it will disappear without replacement. However, customers do not have a special right of termination as a result of the discontinuation of StreamOn, as this is only an additional option and not a fixed part of the contract. They continue to pay the same rate, but have to do without the option.
This is particularly bitter since Telekom’s mobile rates are not cheap. The smallest offer with an all-net flat rate for calls and SMS as well as 6 GB of data costs 39.95 euros per month with a term of 24 months. Although the 5G option is already included here, the offer is no longer really attractive without the unique selling point StreamOn. By way of comparison, Congstar offers a rate with 15 GB of data for 22 euros per month, while Edeka Smart, for example, offers a rate with 5 GB of data for just under 15 euros per month. Both providers operate on the Telekom network.
Will the rates be cheaper now?
The Federal Network Agency, on the other hand, sees the discontinuation of StreamOn and similar options such as Vodafone Pass as having a positive impact on the German mobile market. “We expect providers to now offer rates with higher data volumes or cheaper mobile flat rate plans. Consumers will benefit from this,” said Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency. However, it is questionable whether Telekom will really revise its rates after StreamOn is discontinued.
- Federal Network Agency
- Cell phone rates
- Mobile communications