T-Mobile announced today that it’s adding support for Amazon Video, Fox News, Univision NOW, and WWE Network to the roster of services included in Binge On. According to T-Mo, that brings the number of included streamers to more than 40. Others already on the list include Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Sling TV, and more.
The company says its “revolutionary” video service is “fundamentally” changing the way millions of customers watch video.
“In less than three months since launch, T-Mobile customers on qualifying data plans are already watching more than twice the video than before from the free services with Binge On,” the company says in its announcement. Which makes sense — if you don’t have to worry about getting charged for going over your data plan, you’re more likely to watch stuff when you aren’t on a WiFi connection.
T-Mobile goes on to say that “one major video service,” which is included in the Binge On plan, has seen a 79% increase in daily viewers. Another unnamed yet “major video service” that isn’t one of the free services under the plan is still reaping benefits, T-Mobile claims, as customers have watched 33% more hours than before, “thanks to Binge On optimization providing up to 3x more video from their data plan.”
To qualify for unlimited access to Binge On, customers must first subscribe to a plan that offers at least 3GB of data. If you’re on a cheaper plan you can access those optimized streams, but you’ll use up part of your monthly data allowance in the process.
Additionally, when customers choose to use Binge On, they agree to let T-Mobile downgrade the quality of their video stream — not just for participating content providers, but for all streaming video.
This has not gone over well with YouTube, which has labeled the program as “throttling,” indicating that it may possibly run afoul of the FCC’s recently enacted “net neutrality” rules that prohibit broadband providers (even mobile data carriers) from actively slowing down content based on its source.
T-Mobile has aggressively defended this allegation, saying it is only optimizing streaming feeds to better perform on mobile. When the Electronic Frontier Foundation questioned how T-Mobile was doing this, T-Mo CEO John Legere fired back on Twitter, asking the non-profit consumer advocates “Who the f*ck are you anyway EFF? Why are you stirring up so much trouble and who pays you?” Legere later apologized for the profane response.