Binge On unlimited video streaming launched by T-Mobile US

A new T-Mobile package in the US that gives subscribers unlimited access to video services like Netflix and ESPN has polarised the telecoms industry. T-Mobile supporters say it liberates subscribers from confusing and painful over charging on data, while critics claim it has a hidden anti-competitive agenda that includes undermining net neutrality.

Under the terms of the new “Binge On” scheme, T-Mobile is offering free video streams to all subscribers of its Simple Choice plan at no extra cost. Subscribers can get access to 24 video stream services, from the likes of HBO, Netflix and Watch EPSN, without eating into their LTE data allowances. More streaming services will be available if they can meet the technical requirements to optimise video for mobile screens and minimise data consumption while still delivering 480p quality. YouTube is not available in the package.

The deal is described by T-Mobile CEO John Legere as the tenth step in its Un-carrier revolution to liberate users from data penalty charges. Legere declared the launch as Data Day, which he said marks the moment T-Mobile took its Un-carrier movement to the next level.

“Un-carrier X marks the next step in this revolution, and it is massive,” said Legere. “We’re not only doubling your data, we’re making it work a lot harder for you.”

Mobile video usage is poised to surge more than 400% by 2020 according to (unspecified) research quoted by T-Mobile in its statement. T-Mobile claims rival carriers will make $2.4 billion in 2015 from penalties for over consumption of data, up 60% on last year’s total of $1.5 billion. A quarter of AT&T and Verizon customers were hit by these so called ‘overages’ in the last 6 months, which is twice the rate of two years ago. Customers are frightened by these overuse penalties into over buying data each month, according to T-Mobile. American wireless customers waste an estimated $45 billion annually overbuying wireless data, it claims.

“With Binge On, no one pays, not the customers, not the video streaming services and everyone wins,” said Legere.

Some critics claim that regular Binge consumption will damage the internet, by undermining net neutrality. However, Legere denied any plan to slow down or throttle content.

“If net neutrality has a core idea, it’s that regular people ought to be in charge of the internet,” argued The Verge. “That means companies like T-Mobile shouldn’t be picking winners and losers, even if customers appear to be winning in the short term.”

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