Telia in zero-rating social storm

5 May 2016

Representatives of 27 Swedish newspapers, TV and radio stations have signed a statement protesting against a ‘zero-rating’ free social media usage offer recently launched by Telia for its mobile subscribers, Broadband TV News reports. The statement has been published in the Swedish press, whilst the telecoms regulator PTS has also launched an investigation into the cellco’s latest promotion. TeleGeography notes that earlier this month Telia Sweden launched unlimited free usage of what it claimed was a unique range of popular social media/OTT communication services – namely Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter and Kik – i.e. with no data allowance usage/charges. The move comes despite the imminent introduction of new net neutrality legislation by the European Commission, and the Swedish signatories expressed concern that the new legislation will be deemed ineffective. Quoted in the report, Jimmy Ahlstrand, director of strategy at SVT, said: ‘We can assume that more and more telecom operators will put zero-rating offers in place around Europe (many countries already have them). If the open internet falls, we might wake up in a world with a ‘cable-TV-internet’ ever more under control of the largest global players – media companies and telcos.’

Sweden, Telia Sweden