Amazon Web Services (AWS)has become the latest hyperscaler to scrap so-called egress fees for departing customers.

Nick Wood

March 6, 2024

3 Min Read

Under the current rules, users are already allowed to move up to 100 GB of data per month outside AWS without incurring any fees. Under the new system, customers that want to transfer more than 100 GB can contact AWS support and apply for data transfer out (DTO) credits for the additional data.

"It's necessary to go through support because you (AWS customers) make hundreds of millions of data transfers each day, and we generally do not know if the data transferred out to the Internet is a normal part of your business or a one-time transfer as part of a switch to another cloud provider or on premises," said Sébastien Stormacq, principal developer advocate at AWS, in a blog post.

There are some other strings attached too.

AWS explained in a related FAQ that only customers whose accounts are in good standing are eligible for free transfer. Transfers must be carried out within 60 days, and while customers aren't required to close their AWS account, they must delete all remaining data and workloads, which seems like only one step short of entirely closing an account.

"You're welcome to come back at any time," Stormacq said.

Levying charges on businesses that want to migrate their data to another cloud provider or to on-premises hardware is firmly in the crosshairs of antitrust regulators.

Both the UK and EU are twitchy about the dominance of the public cloud market by AWS, Microsoft and to some extent Google, and forcing customers to pay to switch provider is seen as a big no-no.

UK telco watchdog Ofcom started looking into the market in 2022 and identified this concern – among others – in April last year. It referred the matter last October to the Competition and Markets Authority, which has launched a probe of its own.

As for the EU, in November it adopted the EU Data Act, which requires cloud providers to remove commercial, technical and contractual obstacles to switching. They come into effect in 2025, giving the industry plenty of time to get their collective ducks in a row.

There are PR points to be scored by making a big song and dance about complying with rules ahead of time though, and that is pretty much what Google did in January.

In a blog post about scrapping egress fees, Amit Zavery, head of platform at Google Cloud wrote that his company works to "support a thriving cloud ecosystem that is open, secure and interoperable."

AWS' Stormacq has taken a similar tack. Describing the broad choice of services on offer as one of his company's strongest selling points, he said "we believe this choice must include the one to migrate your data to another cloud provider or on-premises. That's why, starting today, we're waiving data transfer out to the Internet (DTO) charges when you want to move outside of AWS."

While these involuntary acts of benevolence ring a little hollow, they do bring tangible benefits to customers, and encourage rivals to up their game.

On that note, the pressure is now on Microsoft to follow suit.

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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