YouTube claims T-Mobile is downgrading its video streams

YouTube claims T-Mobile is downgrading its video streams
T-Mobile's Binge On feature allows users to stream video without it impacting data usage caps, but T-Mobile has said that video providers can only be added to the service if they follow certain specs. It was already said that YouTube didn't follow the right specs to be part of the feature, and now YouTube is claiming that T-Mobile is downgrading video streams anyway.

According to a WSJ report, T-Mobile has quietly been downgrading the video quality of services that aren't technically part of Binge On, and YouTube says its service is one of those being affected. A YouTube spokeswoman told WSJ that, "Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent."

T-Mobile hasn't commented on the accusations, nor has it been established if the downgraded YouTube streams are still being counted towards user data caps. 

Have any of you noticed downgraded YouTube service while on T-Mobile? If so, sound off in the comments.

source: WSJ

FEATURED VIDEO

31 Comments

1. GreatBigPhoney

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

I'm pretty sure they advertise that you should be able to watch about 3x more stuff using the same data for media not included in their program. I would imagine this involves optimizing. I haven't noticed much of a change personally, but you have the option to turn BingeOn off on T-Mobile's website. This isn't some dark secret and hasn't been from the start, but apparently a lot of people missed the memo.

3. tedkord

Posts: 17183; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Nobody missed anything. YouTube isn't part of BingeOn, so it shouldn't be affected. Downgrading video quality isn't optimizing. Anything not included with BingeOn shouldn't be degraded without consent.

7. GreatBigPhoney

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

What I meant was more like "optimizing" as in what they'd call it. I'm sorry for the word choice. It isn't included so it counts against your data plan, however they've mentioned multiple times that for programs not included in the program you can watch 3x more. In order to reach that compromise that's what they are doing apparently. I didn't say I agreed with it, but realistically, they added BingeOn as an incentive for customers to feel like they can use more data while lowering streams, taking strain off the network by "optimizing" everything to 480p unless you opt out. I just don't understand why anyone would be surprised since again they state if you're opted in, if you're watching anything that isn't part of the program you can still watch about 3 times more. Unfortunately at this point it is an all-in or nothing deal.

31. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

I have unlimited data w T-Mobile.. I'm not watching 3x more... I'm watching 3x slower.

2. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

T Mobile is really something. On one hand mocking competitors calling them names. On the other hand, throttling their own customers.

21. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

You can turn it off, and its not a throttle.

25. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

You can't turn off Legere's mouth, that thing is stuck on repeat.

27. GTNavy

Posts: 55; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

Once you turn it off, you can never get it again.

30. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Actually you can turn it on and off at will. I do it all the time, you can do it directly from my.tmobile.com (or the app I believe), and select profile, select the number and turn it off. The only thing turning it on and off will affect is the Vudu free movie rental since it is required to be on all the time from bill cycle start to end, a sort of freebee for having it on all the time.

4. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

I knew it, cause my v10 keeps buffering at 720p and up but 480p is fine. This is messed up!

5. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

This has been happening since the binge crap. T-mobile keeps telling me is a YouTube thing. I will give them hell at the store, tomorrow.

22. stevetherican

Posts: 40; Member since: Sep 10, 2015

Because giving them hell at the store will solve anything...no less, days before Xmas. Do yourself, and those retail workers who have no control over the matter a favor and just call T-Mobile directly...maybe they can give you a credit for the issue instead of wasting someone at the retail spot's time.

24. TheOriginal

Posts: 49; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

i agree with steve, i work customer service for att and calling in is the best options, stores rarely know anything except sketchy sales tactics.

26. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Calling the store would be pointless. Best thing to do is complain on social media. They'll quickly address this. Sprint was going to do 600 kbps limit on video services with their recent plan, and they changed their tune real fast after people got word out on social media. T-mo is the "Darling" carrier right now, they wouldn't want to risk that reputation, so put it to the test.

6. camera531

Posts: 346; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

I've got an S6 edge on T-Mobile and watch YouTube all the time. Haven't noticed any drop in quality.

8. purpleespritee

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 22, 2015

Yes I noticed!!!! I'm using jail broken iPhone 6s Plus & It always buffers on 720 or 1080 now!!! While 480 loads so quick... Wow that's so annoying.

15. talon95

Posts: 988; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I'm going to agree they shouldn't be throttling or adjusting quality if Bingo On is NOT turned on. But you recognize that any crappy signal will handle 480p right, it's not mind blowing that 1080p is more likely to buffer. This article is talking about setting your phone to 1080p but then receiving a lower setting or bitrate irregardless. Has nothing to do with buffering.

20. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Yes actually this will always happen unless you turn off binge. And I can confirm this 100%. Why? Cause I work with TMO. If you have binge on, any manual selection of video quality will cause your video to buffer. because your making the network do double work. Turn off binge on...and get on with your data usage.

9. SyCo87

Posts: 293; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

So essentially, it's better to turn OFF Binge On so you can continue getting HD streaming on Unlimited data.

10. Af1rPA

Posts: 712; Member since: Jun 12, 2014

480p is more than enough on a small screen. Cry babies.

12. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

480p is not enough for some users like myself.. But it's okay if you prefer to degrade others because you don't agree

11. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2262; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

never notice any freeze/buffer none,..using my fast wifi...lol

13. tedkord

Posts: 17183; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Well,I just don't understand how you aren't noticing any...hey, wait a minute!

14. spasticpat

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 18, 2012

Then turn off BingeOn, it's not required...

19. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Exactly, you can turn it off and on at will. It just means you use more data is all, for unlimited customers its worthless (except free vudu movie). But for a customer on 2GB plan, it matters.

16. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Since it's Google complaining and not customers, it's not an issue, but just corporate jousting.

17. khaldoon

Posts: 62; Member since: May 17, 2013

if you realise that by now google is actually the least BIG company, they don't move a hand or contact media unless something is there for real !

18. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

You guys know what a throttle is? At any rate, as a person who works with TMO this is how it works. Partners get FREE data streaming. Meaning if you watch 50GB of Netflix on a 3GB plan...TMO wont care. You will have 3GB left to use for things like...youtube. However...all other video streaming is optimized 480p for mobile, so you watch up to three times more video with your data plan. You can turn binge on and off at will. The only thing it will mess with is unlimited customers the ones who pay 30$ or more, if they turn it off, they will loose their free vudu movie. Unlimited customers must be toggled on for the ENTIRE billing cycle in order to receive your free movie rental from Vudu the following month. Here is the information PA you need to look at:https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-24292

29. GreatBigPhoney

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Thank you. I thought i was going insane. I found it so appalling how quickly everyone got so upset and defensive over something they never bothered to take the time to research. There was nothing surprising about this to any person who actually bothered to follow the feature and how it would affect them. It clearly states everything on the website, and it was made clear during the press conference as well. I don't work for T-Mobile and I'm not a blind fanboy, I'm a person who is very much against ignorance, and anybody crying foul over this clearly did not do their homework or are just now venting that they aren't getting exactly what they want from this program. It is one thing to dislike the program or aspects of it, and another to pretend it wasn't presented honestly. Thank you for taking the time to clarify how this program works for all those who couldn't take 5 minutes to go on to T-Mobile's site and read what is listed in a few places, out in the open.

23. matistight

Posts: 949; Member since: May 13, 2009

I completely understand if you have to make sacrifices like that, BUT DONT MESS WITH MY STREAM WHEN I HAVE UNLIMITED DATA! I GET 50MBPS IN THE ROOM I STREAM IN AND YET IT BUFFERS ON 1080 VIDEO ON MY I6 PLUS! DAMN YOU T-MOBILE! Also, please lower metros priority, it's really killing the premium paying T-Mobile customers.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.