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The European Union’s highest court has confirmed the national media authority’s (NMHH) legal interpretation of EU rules concerning net neutrality following a Hungarian court’s request for guidance from the Luxembourg court over a case involving Telenor Magyarország, the NMHH said. The EU Court of Justice interpreted the regulation in question for the first time, ruling that mobile operators favouring some apps over others when setting their tariffs violate the principle of net neutrality. Telenor had offered customers zero-tariff packages in which certain applications were deducted from the consumption tally. Blocking or slowing down traffic for certain types of application is seen as a violation of that principle. Hungary’s media and telecoms watchdog had argued in its suit that Telenor’s package breached the net neutrality regulation that ISPs may not discriminate between the internet content they make available.
The NMHH said that it welcomed the EU court ruling and it was confident that, accordingly, proceedings Telenor brought before the Metropolitan Court may soon be concluded. The EU court’s decision sets a precedent for the Hungarian court and the courts of other EU member states in the event that a similar case emerges, the authority noted. The NMHH noted that in 2017 the authority ordered Telenor to cease differentiating between data packages and favouring MyChat and MyMusic apps on a purely commercial basis by applying zero charging. Telenor filed two lawsuits at the Hungarian court challenging the media authority’s decision.