YouTube and Google Play Movies are two of the latest additions to T-Mobile’s zero-rating video consumption service BingeOn, adding the world’s most popular video streaming website to its ranks.
Announcing the expansion of BingeOn and the addition of YouTube to its ranks, in his customary vlog fashion, T-Mobile CEO John Legere proudly enthused over its significance, and called out AT&T and Verizon yet again.
“Now this is already our third expansion since we launched in November, and this one is huge,” he said. “Millions are streaming two times more video every day than they were before the launch of BingeOn. Today, a pretty successful little streaming service I’m sure you’ve heard of has also come on board. Yes, I’m here to tell you that as of today YouTube is a part of BingeOn, and I cannot tell you how exciting this is.”
In order to get YouTube back to the table, after the Google-owned video site stressed its initial concerns, Legere said they had to devise some “creative solutions”, without going into any real detail.
“Early on, when YouTube expressed some initial concerns about the programme, we invited them to sit down and figure it out together,” he said. “They did, and today they’re in. We listened, made some changes, worked out some very cool creative solutions, and today they’ve joined BingeOn.”
Legere did acknowledge the controversy surrounding BingeOn in his video post. Earlier this year, digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) conducted some analysis into BingeOn. It claimed that video quality and network speeds users experienced while streaming videos through BingeOn were lower than non-BingeOn services. Following network performance metrics, it drew the conclusion T-Mobile was throttling BingeOn service speed and quality to cater for zero-rating video content.
Inevitably, this claim invoked an animated response from CEO John Legere via social media. In his open Q&A session on twitter, he vaguely suggested that BingeOn uses some sort of proprietary network analysis technology to help optimise bitrates of videos being streamed. The Verge summarised the online altercation superbly.
The case was taken no further by the FCC, America’s telecoms regulator, while the EFF continues to campaign for further investigation of what it claims is a breach of net neutrality regulations.
BingeOn now lists some impressive partners and household names now, including Netflix, HBO, and YouTube; however the small print in T-Mobile’s latest announcement says that videos streamed via BingeOn come through at 480p resolution, meaning HD isn’t possible. It also says that for higher quality streaming, the user or video provider must disable BingeOn and therefore incur cost for data usage.
In his trademarked video-blog mandatory for any T-Mobile announcement, Legere then enthused over how Verizon and AT&T can only stream Netflix in 360p.
“Did you know that when you watch Netflix on T-Mobile you get it at 480p, and the duopoly actually delivers it at 360p? I bet you didn’t know that. Go check. It’s true.
“Hey, Dumb and Dumber, are you taking notes?” Legere said. “THIS is how you answer America’s skyrocketing demand for mobile video.”
With Amazon and Google launching smart home initiatives, have the telcos missed out on their chance to cash in on this market?
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