Federal Network AgencyInteroperability between messenger services – Overview of potentials and challenges

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Federal Network Agency

Release date:
December 2021

German regulatory office for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets, department 121 – digitization and networking; Internet platforms, discussion paper

Thanks to the rapid spread of smartphones and the use of the mobile Internet, messenger services have now become widely established in Germany. A consumer survey by the Federal Network Agency shows that currently 88 percent of the German population aged 16 and over regularly use such services provided via the Internet for communication. While the range of functions offered by these services was initially limited to the exchange of text messages, they now include a wide range of functions such as (video) telephony, sending voice and picture messages, group chats, and much more.

Messenger services are permanently changing telecommunications use in Germany. This is also having an impact on the traditional telecommunications markets (especially fixed-network and mobile telephony and text messaging), as messenger services are increasingly competing with these services. For this reason, messenger services will be included in parts of the regulatory regime as so-called number-independent interpersonal telecommunications services with the amendment to the Telecommunications Act (TKG) from December 2021. The aim is to create a level playing field between new services such as messengers and traditional telecommunications services such as telephony and text messaging.

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