Ofcom has revealed that it decided to open investigations into Hutchison 3G (Three) and Vodafone to assess whether these two UK-based mobile operators breached Net Neutrality guidelines.
Vodafone and Three are not immediately available for comments on the Net Neutrality issue.
The telecom regulator, which has said it collected evidence against Vodafone and Three, will examine the following issues, and finalize the investigation shortly. Ofcom opened the Net Neutrality related investigations in December 2017.
Is Three restricting tethering – the practice of using one device to connect another one to the internet – on certain plans offered by Three?
Is Three imposing restrictions on the devices in which a SIM can be used – e.g. where a SIM purchased for a mobile phone cannot be used in a tablet?
Is Three following traffic management practices such as throttling or intentionally slowing down particular categories of traffic such as video traffic, Peer-to-Peer and Virtual Private Network traffic, including where traffic management is applied when customers are roaming?
Is Vodafone following traffic management practices relating to Vodafone Passes – e.g. throttling particular categories of traffic – including where traffic management is applied when customers are roaming?
Is Vodafone maintaining the transparency of exceptions to zero rating within the Vodafone Passes products, which mean that certain functions within certain zero-rated applications will use customers’ general data allowance and not be zero-rated.
Ofcom said it is continuing to review the information gathered from other fixed and mobile internet service providers under this program.
Under Net Neutrality, which came into effect on 30 April 2016, European broadband providers must treat all internet traffic on their networks equally, and must not give preferential treatment to any particular sites or services.
Telecom service providers may, however, use certain reasonable measures to manage their internet traffic, to ensure their networks run efficiently. They must be clear and transparent about their traffic management policy and practices. These traffic management measures must be based on technical quality of services reasons, and cannot be used for longer than necessary.