Deutsche Telekom loses lawsuit over all-you-can-watch video product

A crow rests on the GSM mobile phone antennas of Deutsche Telekom AG atop of the headquarters of German telecommunications giant in Bonn, Germany, February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deutsche Telekom has lost a legal battle to continue offering an all-you-can-watch mobile video product after a court sided with the German regulator, saying it violated European rules on roaming and network neutrality.

The appeals court in Muenster ruled that Deutsche Telekom’s StreamOn product could no longer be offered in its current form, confirming a lower court decision in favor of restrictions imposed here by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in December 2017.

Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telco, had sought to emulate the success of its T-Mobile US business, which won market share in the United States by offering Netflix “on us”. StreamOn has attracted 2 million users.

The Higher Administrative Court in Muenster ruled that StreamOn violated the European Union’s “roam-like-at-home” rule by only offering free data for video streaming to viewers when they were in Germany.

Download speeds were throttled under some cheaper price plans in violation of the principle of net neutrality, the court said in a statement, adding its decision was final and could now be implemented.

“We are delighted that the court has confirmed our interpretation of the law,” a BNetzA spokesman said of the decision. “We will take quick action to ensure that Telekom adjusts its product accordingly.”

Deutsche Telekom said it would examine its legal options and would for the time being continue to offer StreamOn to German customers without increasing prices.

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“We expect the BNetzA to allow an appropriate amount of time to make the necessary adjustments,” a spokesman said. “We are convinced that StreamOn is a legal product and will explore all our legal options.”

Reporting by Douglas Busvine. Editing by Jane Merriman

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