T-Mobile CEO John Legere responds to Binge On controversy with video; feature adds 14 new providers
T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to video today to post his response to critics who have been bashing the carrier over Binge On. This is the feature offered by the carrier that allows subscribers to view video from certain providers without using any of the customer's data allowance. T-Mobile's top executive extols the virtues of Binge On, and there is no denying that T-Mobile customers are saving their precious data by using the feature. Legere says that his customers are receiving three times more video with the same amount of data by using Binge On. "Customers really love it," Legere says. "Trust me."
On the video, Legere says, "There are people out there saying we're throttling, that's a game of semantics and it's bullshit." The CEO defines throttling as "slowing down data and removing customer control." Binge On does neither according to Legere. Instead, he claims that the plan optimizes the data stream. "So we built technology to optimize for mobile screens and stream at a bitrate designed to stretch your mobile data consumption." The result, says Legere, is that T-Mobile customers are watching DVD quality data, but are using only one-third as much data or no data at all in the case of a Binge On provider.
Keep in mind that it is in T-Mobile's best interest to define throttling this way because it means that the carrier isn't violating Net Neutrality regulations that specifically prohibit the throttling of data. While a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) included the results of tests that showed T-Mobile was reducing all HTML5 video streams to a speed of 1.5Mbps, it is important to note that T-Mobile customers can disable Binge On if they so desire. However, the customer would then have to use his own data allowance to stream videos that might have been covered by the feature.
Legere's video does clear up this mess. The bottom line is that if you are a T-Mobile customer, using Binge On will reduce your data use by one-third if the content provider is not a Binge On provider. If the provider is signed up for Binge On, no customer data is used. And if the quality of the video is not to your liking, you can turn off the feature. This is why some of the carrier's subscribers were complaining about the quality of YouTube videos even though the video streamer is not a Binge On provider. Meanwhile, 14 new partners have been added to Binge On today including A&E, Lifetime, History Channel, and PlayStation Vue Live.
Had T-Mobile made it clear that all videos streamed to a customer would go through its "optimization" if he/she enabled Binge On, most likely no one would have even thought twice about all this.