It wasn’t long ago that the FCC finally announced what American consumers nationwide wanted to hear: Internet was being re-classified and net neutrality is coming in. At least, that’s the plan. Once classed as a utility under Title II, internet – both mobile and fixed line – will be open and competitive and big corporations won’t be able to pay ISPs a premium for access to “fast lanes”. A new law could impact any internet service provider, and naturally, T-Mobile is one of those.
When Music Freedom was launched, many commenters and bloggers saw the offering of free music streaming as being in opposition to the net neutrality principle. By choosing not to count specific internet services against data allowances, many saw that as a way of choosing some services as better than others. So, there was a worry that any passing of this new law would mean no more Music Freedom for T-Mobile customers.
Thankfully, T-Mobile doesn’t think it will be an issue.
In yesterday’s earnings call, T-Mobile’s CEO stated that – as they understand the ruling – it shouldn’t have any impact on Music Freedom at all. “From what we understand, we’re comfortable,” Legere said. “If passed as we understand it, it would have no effect on Music Freedom.” In an interview with WSJ, Mike Sievert – the newly promoted COO – spoke very much along those same lines.
“There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy,” Mr. Sievert said in an interview Thursday. Still, he said the reclassification isn’t the most desirable approach.
If the music streaming companies were paying T-Mobile to allow them faster speeds and a better connection than other services, that would be another matter entirely.
The FCC will vote on the net neutrality proposal next week, on February 26th, and it’s expected that the bill will pass. But it won’t pass without opposition. You can be sure that the big, controlling internet companies will kick against it fiercely as they see lucrative revenue streams shut off.
T-Mobile’s executives haven’t exactly given their full support to the reclassification. But at the same time, they don’t seem strongly opposed either. Legere has stated more than once that he wants to see an open and fair internet. Just without all the legal restrictions added by the Title II changes.