Vodafone has said it is “disappointed” with Ofcom after the UK regulator announced an investigation into its traffic management practices on net neutrality grounds.

The watchdog said Vodafone and rival Three may be violating the EU Open Internet Access Regulation, which requires service providers to treat internet access to different types of content equally.

The law allows for “reasonable” exceptions such as managing traffic or assuring quality for specific categories of service such as connected cars.

The regulator will investigate the Vodafone Passes service, which allows subscribers to pay extra for bundles with unlimited access to certain services such as video or social media.

Ofcom said Passes would be investigated for possibly reducing speeds for particular categories of traffic, including when roaming.

It also raised concerns over the transparency of which products were zero rated.

Vodafone launched Passes in the UK in November last year, with UK Marketing Director David James saying at the time that Ofcom was “fine for now” with the company’s decision to launch the unlimited products.

In a statement today (8 March) Vodafone said it was “very disappointed” with Ofcom’s decision to “target” Passes.

It denied throttling speeds and said any traffic management of the product was focused on optimising the experience of customers.

It also said it had provided “clear information” to customers about how Vodafone Passes works.

“We will be explaining all of this to Ofcom during the course of their investigation,” Vodafone said.

Meanwhile, Three is also in the regulator’s cross-hairs for its practices of restricting the use of a connected mobile device as a hotspot on some of its plans, as well as restricting what devices its SIM cards can be used in.

Ofcom is also examining what it says is Three’s practice of throttling or intentionally slowing down types of traffic such as video, peer-to-peer and VPN, including when customers are roaming.

[Read more: Three UK zero-rates four content services, including Netflix]

Three said in a statement it would be “working closely with Ofcom to understand [its] concerns”.

The regulator plans to publish an update on the investigation in June of this year.

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