T-Mobile Disputes YouTube's Throttling Accusations, Calls Binge On 'Mobile Optimized' or 'Downgraded'

YouTube-TMoLast week, YouTube criticized T-Mobile's recently introduced Binge On program for throttling all streaming video to 480p quality rather than just the video of participating services.

T-Mobile has now responded to the accusations, telling DSLReports that "mobile optimized" or "downgraded" are better phrases to describe how Binge On works.

"Using the term 'throttle' is misleading," a representative tells me in an e-mail. "We aren’t slowing down YouTube or any other site. In fact, because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before. A better phrase is “mobile optimized” or a less flattering “downgraded” is also accurate."

Binge On is a free program that allows T-Mobile customers on a qualifying Simple Choice plan to stream unlimited 480p video from 24 partners, including Netflix, HBO NOW, Hulu and many others, without using any data towards their plan. YouTube, the largest video sharing service, does not participate in the program.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., said T-Mobile is effectively throttling, or degrading, its traffic. "Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn't justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent," a YouTube spokesman said.

T-Mobile stresses that all customers can disable Binge On through their account settings, but that has not stopped the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from questioning the U.S.'s third-largest carrier and its competitors about services that allow customers to access certain content without paying for the data usage.

The FCC rules prohibit throttling "particular classes of content, applications, or services" and, should Google pursue a complaint, T-Mobile's behavior may qualify. T-mobile's apparent solution? Call what they're doing something else. T-Mobile may also be able to dodge any complaints by insisting that users can disable Binge On at any time. Google's argument, in contrast, is that the program should be opt in, not opt out.

T-Mobile says it is "looking forward" to talking with the FCC, and believes Binge On is "absolutely in line with net-neutrality rules."

Top Rated Comments

geoff5093 Avatar
66 months ago
I think BingeOn is a great feature, but it should have been an "opt-in" instead of "opt-out" program. Many people are on unlimited data, so having downgraded video is useless to most of them. Meanwhile many were wondering why sites like YouTube were now buffering more and looked worse, as T-Mobile did an awful job of communicating this to customers.

BingeOn is purely T-Mobile's way to reduce usage on it's network. The problem is that your internet service provider should not be changing the quality of the content delivered to you without you either asking for it, or acknowledging it. Simply moving every one to downgraded video was a bad move.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Waxhead138 Avatar
66 months ago
Total Schmooze on T-Mobs part. A not-even-attempted-to-be-hidden PR spin.

That said: If a consumer believes a program like that will come on a sub-par network without a compromise, then they'll get what they pay for.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
66 months ago
Opt-in solves everyone's issue. For those that want it, they're making a conscious decision knowing the consequences. For those who don't, opt-in means they never have to think about it. T-Moble has mad a lot of good customer focused decisions. This one, as an opt-out, not so much.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mamaway Avatar
66 months ago
I really don't get how this qualifies as Apple news or a "mac rumor". Anyone care to explain?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AutoUnion39 Avatar
66 months ago

I didn't say that at all. I did say that we should call a spade a spade and realize that T-Mobile isn't the last bastion of hope against the tyranny that is AT&T and Verizon, as T-Mobile and Legere try and portray. They made these moves as a last ditched attempt at survival. It worked, but let's not pretend that they aren't just the exact same thing once they gain more customers. The exact definition of "Wolf in sheeps clothing"

Bingo. T-Mobile seems to be a master at marketing... and the consumers are eating up this non-sense.

All they've done is successfully jack up the cost of their own unlimited data plan and screw over the rest of the industry. Instead of an ETF, we got device installment plans. Same ****, fancy name.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PTLove Avatar
66 months ago
This thing is a bit much out of nothing anyway imo, since you can disable it pretty easily on your account. Granted you have to opt out of it by default, which is wrong, but having the toggle there helps TMobile a lot imo.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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