Netflix has admitted to throttling the video streams of its customers on AT&T and Verizon mobile devices, a practice it confirmed has been in effect for more than five years to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps.”

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, the company said it doesn't throttle video on Sprint and T-Mobile due to more lenient policies enacted by those carriers that favor slower network connection when data plans are exceeded, instead of overage fees. T-Mobile was at the center of its own throttling controversy earlier in the year, thanks to its free video streaming service Binge On.

netflix 1
To continue its transparency on the subject, Netflix announced a new feature coming to its mobile apps that will grant subscribers more control over their streaming. Called "data saver," the update will let users decide to stream lower-quality video if they have a smaller data plan, or increase to higher-quality video if they have a larger data plan. Netflix said it's "on track" for data saver to launch in May, and plans to release more details closer to launch.

To justify the previous half-decade of secret throttling, the company cited a study it completed recently that pointed to an apathetic response by most users regarding the quality of streaming on their smartphones, with a larger percentage worried about the quality of streaming at home on a television. Still, it hopes moving forward that the new data saver feature will level the playing field and give every one of its subscribers the chance to control their preferable mobile streaming quality.

We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more. So in an effort to protect our members from overage charges when they exceed mobile data caps, our default bitrate for viewing over mobile networks has been capped globally at 600 kilobits per second. It’s about striking a balance that ensures a good streaming experience while avoiding unplanned fines from mobile providers.

Netflix stepped forward to accept the downgraded video claims about a week after AT&T and Verizon both became the center of accusation about throttled Netflix videos on their respective service plans. The streaming video company has publicly backed Net Neutrality since the FCC enacted the open-internet rules last year, and believes its practice of capping video to prevent unexpected user fees is striking a balance that "hasn’t been an issue for our members."

Tag: Netflix

Top Rated Comments

DCYorke Avatar
90 months ago
You say "admitted" as if they've done something wrong. You would expect them to stream lower quality on cellular networks. Other video services like YouTube do the same thing. It's common courtesy.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Opieap13 Avatar
90 months ago
So 5 years of degraded video quality due to less bandwidth, while still paying the full price. I'd demand some form of refund if I were a customer.
People should be thankful that Netflix tried to keep them from the greed of Verizon and AT&T overages. I solely blame Verizon & AT&T for caping data. The caps are BS they know it.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
90 months ago
I've been a Netflix customer during that entire period and I use the Netflix app. I don't care one iota. I'm sure there will be a vocal minority outraged but I'm definitely not in that camp. Non-issue for me.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pfarfour Avatar
90 months ago
I have been a vocal critic of T-Mobile (primarily because of their coverage issues despite all the big talk from Legere about how their coverage has gotten so much better); but I do agree with you.
But when T-Mobile does it, calls it Binge-On, and tells you that they won't even charge you for the data used, everyone screams Net Neutrality.. And oh yeah, they even give you the ability to disable it, something NetFlix has not been providing to AT&T and Verizon users. *facepalm*
The difference is that Netflix is the owner and distributor of the data that they are throttling. T-Mobile is a pipe owner who is throttling other peoples data as they see fit to best suit their network. Huge difference if you ask me
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
soupcan Avatar
90 months ago
So 5 years of degraded video quality due to less bandwidth, while still paying the full price. I'd demand some form of refund if I were a customer.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BeSweeet Avatar
90 months ago
Thank goodness for unlimited data. No need to worry about anything like this.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple Violated U.S. Labor Laws With Anti-Leak Email

Monday January 30, 2023 3:43 pm PST by
Apple violated United States labor laws when it sent out an email warning employees about leaking confidential information about the company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today in a ruling shared by Bloomberg. Rules that Apple has established around leaks "tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees" from the exercise of their rights under the National Labor...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...