Andreas Middel


StreamOn: We're fighting for our customers

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First of all, here's the most important thing: For the time being, the Federal Network Agency's decision about StreamOn is not going to change anything for our customers and partners. Nonetheless, we find the regulatory authority's decision very puzzling indeed. Ultimately, what the regulatory authority is demanding would make it impossible for us to offer StreamOn free of charge.  It thus amounts to a decision against our more than 700,000 customers and more than 150 partners. We continue to maintain that our service does not violate EU law. And we plan to let the courts decide the matter.

StreamOn has been a great success in Germany. What's more, it has stimulated competition in the German mobile communications market. But the Federal Network Agency seems to resent the StreamOn success story. No other interpretation of the authority's order makes sense. The Bonn-based regulatory authority is ordering us to also offer StreamOn in other EU countries. It bases this order on the EU Roaming Regulation. Fulfilling the order would mean the end of our free service, because we would not be able to offer it cost-effectively in other countries. We are still in the process of determining how we wish to deal with the order, however. Our primary aims in this connection are to ensure that our customers incur no disadvantages and that we can continue to offer StreamOn.

Basically, we do not share the Federal Network Agency's basic legal position. We are convinced that the EU Roaming Regulation also allows national mobile service plans, and that StreamOn, as a free add-on agreement option in Germany, does not have to be offered EU-wide. From the beginning, StreamOn has been designed as a service for domestic use. We have communicated this very clearly, and it has been accepted 100 percent. We have received no complaints whatsoever from our customers or our partners.

Another point raised in the Federal Network Agency’s order has to do with bandwidth. The Federal Network Agency wants to require all services to always be available at HD-quality levels. Transmission at DVD-quality levels is absolutely sufficient for display on mobile devices, however. This has been confirmed by the strong customer demand for the StreamOn service and the great interest our partners have shown in it. Here as well, we see no violations of EU law.

Therefore, we plan to file an objection against the Federal Network Agency's notification. We want to do so in order to be able to continue offering StreamOn, in the interest of our customers and our partners. In taking legal action, we plan to fight for the right to enable our customers to continue using StreamOn – and continue using it even while this matter is undergoing legal clarification.