T-Mobile Announces 14 New 'Binge On' Partners Amid Controversial Throttling Talks: It's All About Consumer Choices

8 January 2016, 7:10 am EST By Horia Ungureanu Tech Times
Binge On, T-Mobile’s free video streaming service, was plagued by accusations of throttling from early on. The mobile company explained why the service is appreciated, while also announcing 14 new video content partners.  ( T-Mobile | YouTube )

Binge On, T-Mobile's video streaming service, is offering unlimited streaming access for the carrier's subscribers, but critics were soon to point out its weaknesses.

Company CEO John Legere addresses the media reported issues in an open letter, clarifying what T-Mobile aims to do with the service and what are its advantages.

Binge On was announced in November 2015, and features content video from major providers, such as Crackle, DirecTV, Encore, ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox Sports GO, Go90, Hulu, HBO NOW, HBO GO, Major League Baseball, Movieplex, Netflix, NBC Sports, Showtime, Sling TV, Sling Box, Starz, Univision Deportes, Ustream, Vessel, Vevo, VUDU. Obviously, T-Mobile TV is also part of the lineup.

If this seems like a pretty good deal, you should know that there is a catch: T-Mobile decided that the binge watcher's dream comes in video quality limited to 480p or worse.

Legere makes clear in the letter and accompanying video that his company worked long hours to make the technology possible. He states that T-Mobile optimizes the video content to fit neatly on mobile screens.

"Anyone can join, there is no charge or extra fee, and you don't have to do anything to get it, NOTHING," T-Mobile CEO John Legere, says.

Also, he takes a powerful swing at journalists who claim that Binge On slows down data, throttling the video experience. He notes that those who make such accusations simply "play semantics."

T-Mobile's leader underlines that users may shut down the service whenever they want and return to HD quality for videos. What he forgets to mention, however, is that opting out of the Binge On service enables users to watch videos in mint quality, but at a price. HD video cuts deep into the data plans of those who want the extra crisp videos on their T-Mobile devices.

Legere accuses some media outlets of turning Binge On into a villain, and underlines that the media "used Net Neutrality as a platform to get into the news." Further on, he draws a comparison between the video streaming service and T-Mobile's "Music Freedom" platform.

Music Freedom, which went live in 2014, has been offering free music streaming to T-Mobile clients without dipping into their data plans.

This is not the first time the magenta telecom addresses complaints about Binge On's behavior. Back in December 2015, YouTube complained that the streaming service from T-Mobile caused traffic interference in the Alphabet-owned popular video sharing website.

"YouTube complained about Binge On, yet [...] they claim they provide choice on the resolution of their video. So it's ok for THEM to give customers choice but not for US to give our customers a choice?" Legere asks, rhetorically.

Since its launch, T-Mobile Binge On has faced looming accusations which pointed out that its free video streaming service involves some serious throttling for some sources. Earlier this week, an independent study demonstrated that when Binge On runs on a handset, it virtually throttles videos streaming from non-partner services of T-Mobile.

"Customers have COMPLETE CONTROL over how or whether to use the benefits of Binge On," Legere underlines in the open letter.

On the upside, T-Mobile announced that no less than 14 new partners will be added to the service. Some notable names are A&E, Lifetime, HISTORY Channel, and PlayStation Vue Live TV. Due to the recent recruitment of providers, Binge On has a total of 38 partners under its belt.

The data carrier pointed out that 50 more filed to enter the streaming program.

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