Zero-rating of video and other apps in EU and OECD mobile markets
The flipside of "free data": those mobile operators that zero-rate video sell eight times smaller open internet volume allowance (for the same €30 price) as those operators that do not zero-rate video (median metric, 92 operators in the EU, 4G smartphone tariff plans. September 2016).
25%
40%
26%
44%
Click to learn more about the DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet >
Source: DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet, 2H2016. The spreadsheet includes the full list of all the zero-rated and differential priced applications per operator and the corresponding content price (e.g. €5/month for unlimited film access to a telco film store where traffic is zero-rated). Users can explore if the 59 operators that zero-rate selected apps are more likely to be fixed rather than mobile-centric, their data cap sizes, price level and tethering/hotspot restrictions if any.

For clients: full release report

The metrics publicly peresented on DFMonitor are only a subset of all EU and OECD mobile data competitiveness and spectrum metrics and insights that our consultants have collected, crunched and analysed. Our analysis of the EU roaming issue is available for clients in the 2H 2016 DFMonitor-PRO release report.

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DFMonitor-PRO 2H 2016 release report


Insights and external articles citing DFMonitor about zero-rating
Tight oligopoly mobile markets in EU28 in 2016
2016
spectrum
networkeconomics
pricing
merger
mobile-first
zero-rating
Germany
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone
Telefonica
Orange

December 2016
Fixed-line broadband interest, zero-rating video and big telco ownership impedes competition in mobile markets

Hutchison Austria quadrupled data allowances after national regulatory authority’s intervention on zero-rating video
2016
Austria
Hutchison
zero-rating
data-caps

December 2016
The regulator intervened along the EU net neutrality rules and BEREC guidelines that prohibit differential throttling when the internet-access data cap is exhausted.




Tight oligopoly mobile markets in EU28 in 2015
2016
spectrum
pricing
merger
mobile-first
zero-rating
Germany
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone
Telefonica
Orange

January 2016
Comprehensive analysis of factors that give rise to unilateral anti-competitive effects leading to non-competitive outcomes and consumer harm in tight mobile oligopolies.

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – Hutchison Three Italy halved the gigabytes in its flagship smartphone plan and launched its own zero-rated film store
2015
Italy
Vimpelcom
Hutchison
merger
zero-rating

September 2015
- Ahead of its planned merger with Wind in Italy Hutchison Three has halved the gigabytes in its flagship 4G LTE smartphone mobile internet access plan and launched its own zero-rated (unlimited gigabytes at €0/GB) film store.

Tight oligopolies and the need for ex ante regulation – Why BEREC is right and ETNO is wrong
2015
tight-oligopoly
mobile-first
zero-rating
pricing

August 2015
There are substantial empirical market evidences supporting the notion that close to half of EU’s mobile markets exhibit tight oligopoly non- or sub-competitive market outcomes.


The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – The Austrian mobile market has fallen considerably behind in competitiveness in EU28
2015
zero-rating
merges
Austria
Hutchison

May 2015
Smartphone tariff price competitiveness snapshots between December 2012 and May 2015. Before the price hikes that followed approval of Hutchison’s and Orange’s merger Austria used to rank as the country in EU28 with the second lowest 4 gigabyte smartphone tariff basket price. Now prices doubled and Austria has fallen to the fourteenth place.


The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – In Denmark the prices of mid range and high gigabyte usage smartphone plan baskets edged higher
2015
zero-rating
Denmark
Hutchison
TeliaCompany
Telenor
TDC

April 2015
While in the neighbouring Swedish 4 operator competitive market gigabyte allowances doubled for same prices (40, 50 and 100 gigabyte smartphone plans are now available and on some Swedish networks 30% of the residential smartphone customers are now on the 20, 50 or 100 gigabyte plans) in Denmark two operators started moving in the opposite direction.

The real threat to the open Internet is zero-rated content
2015
zero-rating

[External guest blog, World Wide Web Foundation]
February 2015
In this two-part guest blog for the World Wide Web Foundation, Antonios Drossos of Rewheel discusses the potential threats of price discrimination. Download as PDF: » here

In the Netherlands, where zero-rating is banned, KPN just doubled (free of charge) the mobile internet volume caps to encourage a carefree usage of its online videos
2015
Netherlands
zero-rating
KPN

February 2015
This is the first empirical evidence of the pro-competitive benefits of real net neutrality rules that ban price discrimination (zero-rating) – it leads to lower internet usage prices and higher volume caps!

The Biggest Hole in the FCC's New Internet Rules
2015
United States
zero-rating

[External article, Bloomberg]
February 2015
Zero-rating won't be blocked by the FCC's Open Internet proposals—and it could a major challenge to net neutrality. Rewheel quoted.

Telenor launched a vertically price discriminated internet video service in a European market
2015
Telenor
Hungary
zero-rating

February 2015
Unlike all other vertically price discriminated telco mobile TV and film store video services Telenor’s service is not zero-rated but the price is massively discounted. Telenor charges 10 times less per Gigabyte when consumers watch its own internet video service over its mobile network compared to the price it charges consumers for open mobile internet access!

36 leading US scholars, in a letter addressed to the FCC, have called for the ban of paid prioritisation, including zero-rating
2015
United States
zero-rating

January 2015
This is the first letter by leading scholars that unequivocally supports a bright-line ban on all forms of paid prioritization (including zero-rating).


The Dutch regulator has fined Vodafone for violating national net neutrality law by zero-rating HBO mobile video streaming
2015
Netherlands
zero-rating
Vodafone

January 2015
On the 27th January 2015 ACM, The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets has fined Vodafone for violating the Dutch net neutrality law.

Slovenian telecom regulator orders mobile operators to stop zero-rating
2015
Slovenia
zero-rating
TelekomSlovenije
TelekomAustria

January 2015
Slovenian regulator has found that zero-rating internet apps is violating the non-discrimination clause of the Slovenian national net neutrality law.

Price discrimination (zero-rating), if allowed, will erect a new insurmountable barrier to EU’s Digital Single Market
2015
zero-rating

January 2015
The suggestion by the Presidency of the EU Council to omit from the scope of net neutrality regulation the potentially anti-competitive practice of price discrimination (e.g. zero-rating) and allow instead Member State legislative discretion will balkanise internet access and prevent the creation of a European Digital Single Market.

New Republican Bill Is Network Neutrality in Name Only
2015
United States
zero-rating

[External article, Stanford Law Review, by Barbara van Schewick & Morgan N. Weiland]
January 2015
On closer examination, the bill is so narrowly written that it fails to adequately protect users, innovators, and speakers against blocking, discrimination, and access fees. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor research.

The net neutrality study prepared by J. Scott Marcus for the European Parliament conveniently missed the elephant in the room – Price discrimination (zero-rating)
2015
zero-rating

January 2015
Although the author referred to its work as “analytical” the study made no reference whatsoever to the most important and wide spread economic net neutrality violation – application based price discrimination such as zero-rating.

The splinternet
2015
zero-rating

[External article, The Economist GE Look ahead]
January 2015
Net neutrality and why it matters (or not) for the digital economy. Based on Rewheel quotes and Digital Fuel Monitor analysis.

Germany Emerges as Net Neutrality Antagonist
2014
Germany
zero-rating

[External article, The Wall Street Journal]
December 2014
Germany, which is spearheading Europe’s fight against U.S. tech giants on everything from data privacy to Google ’s search engine monopoly, is hoping to scupper net neutrality too. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor analysis.

Net neutrality is about the price of open internet access, more and more EU governments realize
2014
zero-rating
Netherlands
Poland
Slovenia
Hungary
Greece
Slovakia
Luxembourg
Austria
Bulgaria
Irelands
Estonia

December 2014
On the 27th November 2014, last Thursday, on the European Council the representatives of the 28 EU Member States discussed, among other topics, the proposed Europe-wide regulation of net neutrality. The Dutch representative stressed that the regulation should explicitly ban vertical price discrimination of specific internet services, content and applications. Slovenia, Hungary and several other Member States have endorsed the Dutch proposal and asked for the explicit ban of price discrimination in the context of the net neutrality regulation.

Google, telcos and the push for a vertically integrated non-neutral internet – Friends, not foes
2014
zero-rating
Google
pricing

November 2014
Vertical integration of internet access with telcos’ specialized services (e.g. telco TV) and vertical integration of dominant search engines with internet search specialized services (e.g. Google Flights) are both severely restricting consumer choice, foreclose competition and harm the open internet

Pro-net neutrality Norway advises carriers to avoid zero-rating
2014
Norway
zero-rating

[External article, GigaOM]
November 2014
Is zero-rating a net neutrality violation? Chilean regulators think the practice – where phone carriers offer certain web services for free, but not others – does violate the principle, and have banned the practice in that country. The European Union’s former digital chief thinks it doesn’t, arguing it’s a competition issue if anything. And now Norway’s regulators have offered their opinion, siding with their counterparts in Chile.

Flash note: Norwegian telecom regulator unambiguously states that zero-rating violates net neutrality
2014
Norway
zero-rating

November 2014
20th November 2014: this week we saw two notable net neutrality developments in Europe.

Is zero rating a net neutrality issue? Europe’s outgoing digital chief doesn’t think so
2014
zero-rating
Kroes

[External article, GigaOM]
October 2014
While many see zero rating as a net neutrality matter, Ansip’s predecessor, Neelie Kroes, has avoided giving any public opinions on the subject. However, that’s not to say Kroes has no opinion on the matter. Indeed, she appears to think zero rating isn’t a net neutrality issue at all.

Neelie Kroes's Specialized Services are a giant Net Neutrality loophole
2014
zero-rating

October 2014
Telco ‘access’ Specialized Services are no different from Google’s anticompetitive ‘search’ Specialized Services


Zero-rated, non-neutral mobile business model sets up shop in Hungary
2014
DeutscheTelekom
Hungary
zero-rating

[External article, Telecom TV]
October 2014
Thus far, according to Finnish pro-competitive consultancy Rewheel, it’s noted over 100 abuses across Europe, with T-Mobile Hungary the worst offender. So Rewheel has written a paper outlining the telco’s strategy and why the approach is deeply non-neutral.

Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile launches an ‘a la carte’ mobile internet model in Hungary
2014
DeutscheTelekom
Hungary
zero-rating

October 2014
In this public research note we present the latest net neutrality violations in Hungary, examine the adverse structural impacts that such ‘a la carte’ models pose to mobile internet access and conclude by highlighting the need for erecting a ‘Chinese spectrum wall’ between internet access over licensed mobile spectrum and discriminatory proprietary telco services (‘Specialized Services’).

US and EU legislators question zero-rating
2014
United States
zero-rating

September 2014
FCC refocuses the US net neutrality debate on zero-rating over wireless networks while in Europe national telecom regulators and the European Parliament are taking a closer look.

German telecom regulator: Zero-rating (volume discrimination) violates net neutrality
2014
Germany
zero-rating

September 2014
Zero-rated content or apps are applications or services that allow the end-user to consume unlimited Gigabyte volume of selected content without depleting their inclusive open mobile internet volume allowance (source: Wikipedia)

A government ruled for net neutrality. Too bad it wasn't your government
2014
United States
zero-rating

[External article, The Guardian]
June 2014
In America and Europe, the internet is going mobile out of convenience. In the developing world, mobile is the internet. Here's what happens when companies take advantage of that. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor.

Still not convinced that some EU telcos are trying to foreclose the mobile cloud storage market?
2014
zero-rating

June 2014
In this insight we take a closer look at telcos’ own zero-rated mobile cloud storage apps in Europe. What makes the mobile cloud storage market interesting from antitrust point of view is the fact that it is a well established, growing market with billions of Euros in annual revenues. A number of big internet companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and a plethora of start-ups such as Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Mozy, CloudMe, justcloud, Carbonite, livedrive, Tresorit, Hightail, TeamDrive, Infinit, etc. are fighting for consumer attention in a competitive open market.

However, the mobile cloud storage market in Europe is just about to stop being open and competitive.

A critical look into the uncertain future of open mobile internet access in Europe
2014
zero-rating
roaming
Finland

May 2014
This report has been commissioned by Viestintävirasto, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.


List of potentially anti-competitive zero-rated apps launched by EU’s incumbent telcos
2014
zero-rating

April 2014
On Gigaom: Forget fast lanes. The real threat for net-neutrality is zero-rated content

Incumbent European telcos are favouring their own or their OTT partners’ messaging, communication, music streaming, video streaming, mobileTV, cloud storage applications by zero-rating the generated volume i.e. volume generated by these applications does not deplete the end-user’s open internet gigabyte volume allowance. Zero-rating is essentially potentially blunt anti-competitive price discrimination. It favours telcos’ own, or their partners', applications and services thereby placing those offered by other competitors at a competitive disadvantage. In markets where big telcos face no challengers, such as Germany, and where the gigabyte prices for open mobile internet access are prohibitively expensive, price discrimination in favour of telcos’ own applications could be a game changer.

Telcos are killing net-neutrality with overly restrictive Gigabyte quotas, anyway
2014
zero-rating
spectrum

March 2014
How much of its 4G and 5G radio spectrum capacities Europe should keep for open mobile internet access? How much for telcos' and their business partners' 'walled garden' video, cloud and m-health services (i.e. 'specialised services')

In those EU markets where competition between telecom operators can be best described as friendly net-neutrality is already on protracted coma – and the planned no-blocking & throttling rules of Neelie Kroes’s Connected Continent package will be no panacea. In protected telecom oligopolies (where no challenger mobile operator is present) all parallel fixed-line and mobile infrastructures and radio spectrum have already been or soon are to be consolidated in the hands of few friendly voice-era incumbent telecom groups with vested interests in protecting valuation of their fixed-line assets. In these markets telcos have already started to collectively restrict the maximum volume of open-internet on affordable smartphone tariff plans to just few Gigabytes. In contrast, in genuinely competitive markets, such as the UK, Finland and Austria, consumers could choose affordable (€15-€30) smartphone tariff plans that include very large (>10GB) or unlimited Gigabyte volume allowance.

Rewheel's input to public consultation of the European Parliament
2013
zero-rating
spectrum
networkeconomics

November 2013
On the 4th of November 2013 Rewheel has submitted its contributions to the public stakeholder consultation launched by the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament on the European Commission's proposal on a telecoms regulation titled 'Connected Continent'.



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