T-Mobile Adds Content Partners to 'Binge On' Streaming Platform26 Jul, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Disney, Fox join telecom’s data-free platform
T-Mobile has added 16 third-party video services to its “Binge On” platform enabling subscribers to stream unlimited content (music and video) without tapping into their monthly data.
New content providers include: ABC, Apple Music, Big Ten Network, Dish Anywhere, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., Disney XD, Korean movie site DramaFever, Fox Now and FXNow.
Current content holders include Netflix, HBO, ESPN, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and A&E. YouTube and Facebook are not part of the platform.
Launched eight months ago, T-Mobile is attempting to lure video subs, which increasingly opt for mobile access but are hesitant about burning through monthly data caps.
T-Mobile claims more than 760 million hours of video content from more than 100 content providers have been streamed by subs without impacting their data plans.
In video blog announcing the new content providers, outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere used the opportunity to blast Verizon and its ad-supported go90 platform.
“Unlike Dumb and Dumber, we actually work with our [content] providers. We didn’t create a bullsh*t proprietary competitive service that no one asked for, and frankly, no one f**king really cares for. I’m looking at you Verizon and go90,” said Legere.
The CEO said some of the content providers have seen a 60% uptick in mobile users since joining “Binge On,” with T-Mobile subs streaming twice as much content as before the program’s launch.
The plan has generated its share of criticism since T-Mobile — seeking to minimize bandwidth requirements — streams participating content providers’ video at lower 480p resolution. Some contend the move amounts to throttling streaming speed and violates net neutrality rules, which mandates all Web traffic be treated equally.
In January, Legere denounced critics, claiming “Binge On” does not artificially slow streaming speeds.
"Let me be clear: ‘Binge On’ is neither of those things,” Legere said.
Yet the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online advocacy organization, said requiring ‘Binge On’ users to stream video through a smaller pipe is akin to throttling.
"T-Mobile seems to be arguing that downgrading video quality is not actually throttling, but we disagree," EFF technologist Jeremy Gillula told CNN Money.