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European regulators decide to end “free” traffic on WhatsApp and other specific apps

European operators will have to end tariff plans with traffic “freebies” for platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook or others to enforce a decision by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). latest news about free traffic in Europe find out below.

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BEREC reviewed the guidelines of the European net neutrality policy and started to consider that not counting the traffic consumed in the use of specific applications, to the detriment of the others, goes against those principles.

The interpretation of this differentiation has always been controversial, but the BEREC guidelines did not clarify the matter. It now exists and specifies that this traffic discrimination cannot continue to exist, neither in cases where the initiative is the operator’s, nor when the service or store pays for it .

“Despite intense pressure from major vendors and major platforms, BEREC voted to clearly ban zero-rate offers that benefit specific applications or application categories , excluding them from users’ monthly data caps. The ban applies both to applications that pay to be in that situation and to those that do not, and fills a gap in the guidelines”, says a note from the organization on the matter.

BEREC argues that this measure will give users more freedom and favor competition, because the customer, for the same price, can use the applications he wants, while with this differentiation he is being directed to specific applications.

This is an old topic that was brought to the attention of the European Court of Justice last year. O court found that traffic discrimination for some apps is a violation of the principles of net neutrality. . Those who defend the opposite argue that it is not a matter of prioritizing a certain type of traffic over another, with faster connections and improving quality, and as such there is no violation of those principles. The court did not accept the argument and considered that the principle of internet neutrality prevents any type of differentiated treatment of data, whether technical or economic, and as such the action of BEREC was already expected.

As legal expert Barbara van Schewick explains in an article on the Cyberlaw website of the Stanford University law school, where she teaches, the new wording of the guidelines leaves room for operators to continue to offer data traffic, as long as they do not do so in a discriminatory manner.

In some countries, companies with tariffs with free traffic for some specific applications have replaced this feature with the possibility of defining hours of the day with unlimited traffic, or defining hours themselves for this offer, during the night, for example.

Countries like Germany had already unilaterally moved forward with the ban on this type of offers, according to the same source, a decision that forced Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom to review tariffs. free traffic europe

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