After unveiling Binge On plan, critics lashed out at T-Mobile because the free video streaming plan comes at a price. Though the program pledges that Binge On users would be able to watch their favorite videos without it affecting their data allotment, there is a downside.
Videos would be available only on low-resolution, and users who would rather watch videos in higher quality will need to pay for the data. Binge On is available only to customers who had opted for data plans of 3GB or more.
The company argued that there is no need for full resolution since most of its users watch the videos from their smartphones whose screens are too small for viewers to spot the difference. The quality of videos will be affected in the case of customers that do not have a 3GB data plan, as well.
But the plan has already drawn criticism from both content providers and customers for completely different reasons. Some content providers such as YouTube and Facebook complain that the company is deliberately throttling data without asking for users’ consent. Other providers told the federal regulators that T-Mobile is not following net neutrality rules since it discriminates between Internet service providers.
T-mobile’s recently unveiled that the free data plan works only with 24 content providers such as ESPN and Netflix, while YouTube and Facebook aren’t included.
Because streaming video content at full resolution eats up a lot of mobile data, the company will sacrifice video quality of videos of all content providers, regardless whether they are part of Binge On or not. T-Mobile explained that an hour of watching a video at its top quality can consume up to 1GB of data on a phone.
So, instead of providing HD quality, T-Mobile will offer DVD quality. The telecom giant hopes users will now be able to watch thrice as many videos on Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube than they normally would on HD.
Customers also complained. They said that they do not have access to HD quality unless they disable the free video streaming feature. The low-quality mode is the default, so anybody who wants higher quality will have to make the change via a phone call to T-mobile, the company’s website, or the mobile account app.
T-Mobile recently said that it was on the talks with other content providers for future Binge On partnerships. But critics say that more partners in the plan won’t mean that the company doesn’t infringe net neutrality rules. There will always be other video services that would be left out.
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