T-Mobile says FCC must ‘tread lightly’ with Binge On

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Binge On has been the target of its fair share of criticism since launch, with YouTube, the EFF, and a Stanford law professor all taking aim at T-Mobile’s free video streaming program. That’s lead some to wonder what action, if any, the FCC will take in regards to Binge On. That remains to be seen, but T-Mobile is urging the FCC to “tread lightly.”

Speaking at an Open Technology Institute event, Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile’s SVP of Government Affairs, urged the FCC to proceed carefully in its examination of Binge On. That’s because there’s so much experimentation going on in wireless, Ham explained, much of it she says customers are responding to. Ham admitted that T-Mobile must be transparent and ensure the customer has choices, but that it’s smart “to tread lightly in this environment when there is so much going on.”

Ham went on to say that T-Mobile and the FCC have been interacting in recent weeks. The FCC met with T-Mo — as well as AT&T and Comcast — in January to discuss zero-rating services like Binge On, and Ham says that conversations with the FCC are ongoing.

Finally, Ham responded to calls that T-Mobile alter Binge On. She said that customers love the service and that T-Mobile doesn’t really have any desire to make it opt-in rather than opt-out. When asked why Binge On doesn’t exempt all content that uses limited data instead of just video, she suggested that the service will develop and grow. “We may get there,” she said. “I think we rolled this out pretty quickly, and I’m sure it is going to evolve over time. And again, I think our customers are No. 1 at T-Mobile.”

The FCC does appear to be taking its time with its investigation into Binge On. And while critics of the service say that it violates net neutrality, the FCC may not see it that way. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler previously described Binge On as “highly innovative and highly competitive,” and T-Mobile did recently make it easier to toggle the service on and off with a few short codes. Other criticisms of Binge On include the number and type of video services that are included in the free streaming portion. T-Mobile is sure to add more services to the free streaming part of Binge On, though, and it’ll likely use the added interest from video services and its new short codes in defense of Binge On.

Source: The Hill

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  • anshephe

    I actually turned it back on to try it for a while and haven’t had any problems with any streaming. I’m on the unlimited plan but don’t mind helping the network for everyone

    • kgraham182

      This is not a co-op, why should you limit yourself to help a publicly owned company? If the network needs helping maybe John & Co. should work on that, not the customers.

      • VINN

        I agree, and I think every saving he is making someone else is grabbing it, but I respect his decision.

        Personally I would love if everyone around me would turn their Binge On on, knowingly of course, I’m not that bad of a person.

        • Drewski

          Not me. I want mines shut off, I want crystal clear videos that have high resolution than 720 dpi resolutions Bro.

    • Medion

      Add a third option and I’ll use it.
      On
      Off
      On for partners only

      The last option won’t throttle non-partners like YouTube.

      • VINN

        And off for all downloads.

        Why are downloads included anyway?

        Has anyone ever heard a good explanation to that?

        • calvin35

          Because Binge On us a throttling service. Downloads are included because T-Mobile is trying to throttle as much as they can. It really is that simple, it didn’t happen by accident.

    • Al

      Binge On is better for people with unlimited plans. It makes all those services free to any device connected to the HOTSPOT!!! Why doesn’t anyone read on T-Mobile’s website. I stream a slingbox unlimited to my Nexus 9 Tablet and slingplayer 2.0 on my laptop from a Nexus 6 phone. It’s question number 3 at the bottom of the Binge On page.

  • VINN

    I guess 175 comments.

    • VINN

      Fabian C, 80 comments.

      • Medion

        He’s the top shill here.

        • VINN

          I wouldn’t know that, really. I mean, how could I?

        • VINN

          Your top troll here

        • Medion

          You’re

        • VINN

          Yup you’re mother.

        • Medion

          That one was supposed to be “your.” You just said, “Yup, you are mother.”

  • MagicMiguel

    What about Verizon’s “sponsored data” program? Is the FCC going to investigate that? That has the potential to hurt the industry a lot more than Binge On.

    • VINN

      Yes, that one is even worse, of course the FCC should start investigating and people and organization should be sending their complaints.

      That is one of the reasons I don’t like Binge On, it opens the door for other companies to do the same or worse.

      • kevev

        Exactly this^^^

    • steveb944

      Don’t forget Comcast’s.

    • Adam

      This Verizon program looks like Verizon’s long term plan is to have corporate employee paid cellphones subsidize their failing Fios TV business. People will pick Verizon for their TV service instead of Netflix because it will be sponsored data. This is how Verizon will keep their above market service rates, free TV. Since corporate cell plans are a tax write off. The real people footing the bill will be taxpayers.

  • AS118

    I’m concerned that stuff like music freedom and binge-on will mean not only the death of unlimited plans, but also will end up being unsustainable and end up getting canceled themselves, right after the death of unlimited data plans.

    Encouraging customers to use large amounts of bandwidth and treat it like it’s unlimited (especially very data-hungry content like music and video) feels like it would be unsustainable to me, even if throttled, and will just end up making things slow for everyone. Then eventually, like I said before, these programs would probably just end up being phased out, meaning no unlimited anything for anyone.

    • Acdc1a

      Are you serious? Music is about 7.5 hours per Gigabyte on the major services. 10GB would take 75 hours to use up…

  • Al

    Binge On is better for people with unlimited plans. It makes all those
    services free to any device connected to the HOTSPOT!!! Why doesn’t
    anyone read on T-Mobile’s website. I stream a slingbox unlimited to my
    Nexus 9 Tablet and slingplayer 2.0 on my laptop from a Nexus 6 phone.
    It’s question number three at the bottom of the Binge On page.

    • kevev

      I was not aware of this. That seems pretty cool.

    • calvin35

      So turn it on for unlimited users only when they are tethering since T-Mobile can already identify when the user is tethering. People fail to realize that without across the board throttling of all it’s unlimited users Binge On would be of no benefit to T-Mobile as their goal is to reduce the amount of data being used on their network and that is the only reason they enabled it by default for unlimited users. Unlimited users were there ones using most of the data and doing most of the streaming on LTE before Binge On. T-Mobile’s network would be unusable if they enabled unlimited streaming for limited users without coming up with a way to throttle and reduce the amount of data that was already being used by the unlimited users.

    • VINN

      That’s correct, BUT it does count towards your overall data usage, I repeat, Binge On does counts towards your overall data usage. That means when you hit the 25GBs overall data usage you’ll be throttled when congested, “but you’ll never get hit by an overage. EVER!”

      Question 10 and 11.

  • steveb944

    “When asked why Binge On doesn’t exempt all content that uses limited data instead of just video, she suggested that the service will develop and grow. “We may get there,” she said. “I think we rolled this out pretty quickly, and I’m sure it is going to evolve over time.”

    Alright that’s where I draw the line. I don’t care for video as I don’t watch much, but they plan to throttle MORE?! GTFO.

    • kevev

      Her real response should have been the truth. The reason why they enabled it for Unlimited Data users is so that T-Mobile can save more bandwidth at the expense of quality so that T-Mobile can resale that saved bandwidth. It’s always about $. Never about the customer. This is Capitalism

      • SpaceGho5t

        “What if I have an Unlimited 4G LTE plan?

        You still benefit with Binge On! When Binge On is enabled, you’ll get all the benefits of unlimited video streaming on your smartphone and when you use your phone as a mobile hotspot you can stream Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Sling, ESPN, Showtime, Starz and other participating services for free, without counting against your smartphone mobile hotspot. AND, you’ll receive 1 free movie rental a month from VUDU– as long as you have Binge On enabled – starts in January.” – T-mobile.

        I am on an unlimited plan. I have binge on OFF, but i have enabled it ON before to stream cartoons for my 4 year old son on netflix on a tablet via hotspot. You are right it does save bandwidth, that is a good thing for all customers and of course t-mobile. Its a win win. I had a problem with how they launched it and how hard it was to find in the settings but they have fixed that problem.

        • Acdc1a

          Exactly…I’m now a Comcast free household!

        • Android_God

          Why does this not surprise me and help explain why the poor credit crowd flocks to tmobile.

        • Acdc1a

          Yeah…I qualify as low credit…780, 789, 801…I’m suffering.

        • Andrew

          yeah… because what, people with high credit don’t understand value?

          what a stupid thing to say.

        • Andrew Singleton

          T-Mobile has higher credit requirements than the other big 3. You’re relying on old information.

        • Android_God
        • Android_God

          nevermind

        • calvin35

          I hope you don’t actually believe T-Mobile’s BS here. Unlimited users do not “benefit” from having Binge On turned on, only T-Mobile benefits. If T-Mobile wanted to benefit unlimited users by enabling Binge On they would have only enabled it when they were tethering (meaning when they were using their data in the only manner in which they are not unlimited). The problem for T-Mobile is that doing it this way wouldn’t have throttled nearly enough people since most people, believe it or not, don’t tether. When it comes to unlimited users T-Mobile’s goal is to throttle as many of them as they can to compensate for the increased data use by their limited customers.

        • SpaceGho5t

          With binge on enabled i am not burning up my 5GB hotspot allotment while streaming netflix or other streaming services in the binge on program. This is a benefit. It makes my unlimited plan better at no extra cost. I simply turn it off when im not using my hotspot. How am i not benefiting?

        • calvin35

          I’m not arguing that. I’m pointing it that T-Mobile already had the ability to identify when the user is tethering and should have only enabled Binge On for unlimited users when we are tethering and left it off when we are not. They could have easily done it this way but chose not to because it doesn’t benefit T-Mobile to do it this way. I don’t appreciate T-Mobile trying to insult my intelligence but saying that they enabled Binge On for my benefit when the fact if the matter is that when it comes to unlimited users they enabled it the way they did for their benefit and no one else’s.

        • SpaceGho5t

          I stated i didn’t like the way they launched the program. It should have been an OPT IN service (especially for unlimited users) in my opinion but i understand t-mobiles argument on why they made it an OPT OUT service. They have done a good job on fixing the issues i had with it on making it easier to locate the toggle and being more clear on exactly what it does. It would be nice if they add an option to only use binge on while using your hotspot ( you can do it yourself manually right now) Who knows, the program is still pretty new and they might add that ability later down the road.

      • steveb944

        “resale that saved bandwidth”

        Seriously? They’re not going to sell back bandwidth. It’s to ease network strain along with other items SpaceGhost09 answered, that is for everyone across the board.

        They’re a business, you’re paying them, they’re not your friend, and they’re publicly traded. What else did you expect?

    • TechHog

      This is an epic reading comprehension failure.

      • steveb944

        Please enlighten me with your all knowing ways instead of just throwing stones.

        “all content that uses limited data”
        Did I miss something? Because that’s everything that isn’t music or video at this point.

        • TechHog

          It’s only talking about either zero-rating everything that’s throttled by BingeOn, or moving to only unlimited plans. It’s poorly worded I suppose and I’m sure that the actual quote is more clear.

        • steveb944

          That’s not what it says at all. You can’t assume in your presumptuous matter.

          That opens up a can of worms as we know all video is being throttled at this point, but only partners are unlimited.

          Here’s the source so you can know who’s the one that lacks reading comprehension.

          “But she hinted that Binge On would likely evolve, after being pressed on why the program does not simply exempt all forms of content that use limited data, rather than video alone. ”

          If you have an issue with that take it up with both authors of the articles as they don’t do proper reporting or writing.

        • TechHog

          That doesn’t mention anything about throttling all data, which obviously isn’t ever going happen because it benefits no one.

        • VINN

          Pay no attention to them, these people worry about nothing. Yes, many apps are affected, but I guarantee you that your texts are not being throttled.

          This is from the P3:

          “Which apps and services are affected?

          What services are affected although not part of Binge On? Our data shows that all apps that download video content one way or another are affected. This applies to well-known video streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, as well as to mixed media (text, picture, video) apps like Facebook, Tumblr, Viggle and the Web browser. It also doesn’t matter whether or not content is streamed or downloaded. Looking at our data, we found that a number of gaming apps also are affected, as they obviously download video content, e.g. ads the user can watch in order to earn gaming points instead of buying them via in-app purchase. ”

          (page 4)

        • steveb944

          Wow, just wow. I’m going to leave it at the direct source “…why the program does not simply exempt all forms of content that use limited data..”. ALL FORMS of content.

          I’m glad to see you also speak for everyone. I’m sure there’s a few on here that would take throttled data to a Binge speed VS the current prioritization or exceeded data limit speeds that drop to less than 3G speeds.

        • TechHog

          The reason that you’re reading it this way is that you veiw BingeOn and throttling as synonyms. For of all, that response was presented in a “the door is open” kind of way. Second l, with how much T-Mobile loves to brag about speeds, you think they want to throttle all content to 1.5Mb/s for no reason?

        • TechHog

          Actually, can you explain exactly what you’re expecting based on what you read?

        • steveb944

          Unlimited data for all customers at Binge On speeds. With a limited amount of high speed.

          Instead of the current throttle once you reach your limit, which is down to KBs. Or prioritization not being an issue anymore for high data users because they’ll be whitelisted if they enable the feature.

  • vinnyjr

    Binge On is a great service. I have a disabled sister who enjoys a certain program on Netflix. Without Binge On she could never enjoy streaming Netflix as much as she has been. Thank You T-Mobile. Thank You John Legere. Now we’re seeing other Carriers copying T-Mobile’s Binge On with their own twist. Just like everything that T-Mobile has done the other Carriers seem to follow. I’ve never been more happier with any Carrier than I am with T-Mobile.

    • kevev

      What does your sister’s disability have to do with this? No offense but you should like a spokes person for T-Mobile. Again no offense as it is a burden when a family member is disabled as I know all too well.

      • Phone Guy

        Bad comment kevev. You should have said nothing. Bigot. That’s all you are. They simply made a real life comment on how it helps them personally so shut up next time. Such a bigot.

    • kgraham182

      You should check with your local phone or cable internet provider, they may have discounts for disabled or low income people. What is this certain program on Netflix, your sister likes? It’s not like they have new content everyday like hulu.

  • Steven

    Honestly, I’m really getting tired of people caring. If you don’t like it, turn it off. This Net Neutrality thing is ridiculous. Can we all just move on….. Please…

    • Android_God

      Steven, so sorry!! Is there anything else we can do for you?

      • Steven

        No need for your “candor”. Just simply stating what many are thinking. This is getting old. Lets start focusing on other things, like new 700mhz acquisitions, or prep for the 600mhz auction, or how the battle between Sprint and T-Mobile has gone since Metro PCS fired back with its own half off of Sprint campaign. Binge-On Bitching is becoming tiresome for many who are past it.

        • randypower

          I respect your opinion, but also will point out that not all of us are past it.

          One reason things like this get sorted out with big companies is because of customer/social pressure. Those of us who side against the way a company is doing business need to not just lay down and give up.

          You are welcome to move on past articles about Binge On and your problem is solved.

      • Phone Guy

        Steven is right. Android_God is not.

  • lonniepop

    I’ve had BingeOn turned on from the beginning and I’ve never had a problem with YouTube or any other service. I’m on the 14gb tablet plan. With BingeOn I’m only using 7-8gb’s a month. With free texting and Google Voice +Dialer, you might as well say I’m unlimited everything for $65 a month. BingeOn!

    • kgraham182

      If you only use 7-8GB a month, why don’t you turn it off? Why would pay all that allotted data and only use half?

      • lonniepop

        All that extra data goes to data Stash. But I hear ya. The thing is, damn near 5GBs of that is for the commercials on Hulu. I’ve always said from the beginning that BingeOn on just makes you wanna buy more data, which I did.

        • kgraham182

          Beware that Data Stash is limited to 20GB with BingeOn. No commercial Hulu is the way to go. Go on Ebay and buy a hulu gift card for $15-20. Gift card equal about 1 year with commercials, 8 months w/o commcercials, and 4 months with no commercials and showtime added.

        • lonniepop

          OK cool. Thanks for the info on that gift card.

        • Phone Guy

          Can you explain the gift card concept more? That sounds interesting. If you are buying a $15-$20 card, is it discounted, or how does it work?

        • kgraham182

          Some people don’t like giving out their credit card info to all these internet services, so they buy gift cards. I don’t know why the gift cards are extremely discounted on ebay but they are. I buy xbox live, office, hulu, and skype cards from ebay. There’s even $50 gift card for $40 from time to time.

      • Phone Guy

        Because why drain a network that is not unlimited (towers can only handle so much) and screw your neighbors and people around you by overtaxing it if not really necessary. I mean, if you “could ” watch a 4k or 10K video on a 4″ phone even though you can’t tell the difference, why not, right? NOT. Why not let your hose run all day into the gutter. I mean water is cheap. Even though some counties are going dry. This person can use it in other ways.

  • Android_God

    I really look forward to the nail fungus ad everytime I visit this site.

    • Acdc1a

      They make blockers for that.

      • Phone Guy

        For Android_God? :)

        • Acdc1a

          It blocks fungus ADS…Ads being the key word. Close though.

    • VINN

      Awww, that’s soo sad!

  • badassn

    I’m a customer and I hate Binge On for even existing as it infringes on the principles of Net Neutrality. Binge On opens the doors to many programs that will directly hurt consumers.

    • Scoop003

      So, now that video has its own service, you have an issue with it, but you were cool with music freedom? Tell me, how’s Verizon treating you these days? Because that’s about the only way you could not like these services.

      • badassn

        Learn to argue mate, I’ve been a T-mobile customer for 8 years. And no, I don’t agree with Music Freedom either.

      • Your Mi Boy Blu

        According to the Stanford Professor’s report (have you read it?) Music Freedom only acquired 40 services. The Professor’s report states that there are 2,000 licensed broadcasters on the Internet. Some companies had to wait 2 years for T-Mobile to approve them.

        That means less than 1.8% of licensed broadcasters are a part of Music Freedom; T-Mobile introduced technology barriers and additional approval processes that prevent adoption for music distribution and the same is happening with video.

        • Why, screw the broadcasters! Music Freedom is good for me, enough said.

        • VINN

          That’s my real account above. ^^^

        • Your Mi Boy Blu

          Your so sexy too. :-)

    • maximus1901

      having a police “opens the door” to having a secret police; doesn’t mean it has to happen.

    • Chris

      I think T-mobile should really move towards how ISPs handle data to our home.

      Have a tiered Unlimited pricing like so:
      1.5 Mbps per line ($40 overall) – up to 10 lines.
      3.0 Mbps per line ($50 overall) – up to 10 lines
      12 Mbps per line ($75 overall) – up to 10 lines
      18 Mbps per line ($90 overall) – up to 10 lines
      21 Mbps per line ($120 overall) – up to 10 lines.

      This is assuming each tower can at least get these numbers out.

  • Bradley Karas

    Does this really affect any of your lives? Just curious…

  • Rob H.

    T-Mobile needs to tread lightly with Binge On. The FCC will have no problem laying the smackdown on any of the 3 carriers doing this “special” lane for video traffic. I personally won’t feel bad about it either. However I think AT&T may have more to worry about.

    • Your Mi Boy Blu

      Yeah. It’s somewhat interesting how FCC has double standards.

  • Philip

    I just upgrade 4x for $150. I turn off all my binge. No more problems.

    • Phone Guy

      That new plan is sooo expensive.- Well, compared to past deals. But I’m glad there are more choices.

  • rtqgr

    tmobile is the one who knocks! lol

  • k

    How is it that content providers are adamant that they are able to access all the consumers, and yet, they don’t own any of the access routes and in a lot of cases, don’t pay for it. How is it that they can have that influence over another company’s resources? For that matter, even in the case of the general public, how can we expect not to pay for the service?
    Its like saying I can’t get access to the beach because my neighbor is in the way. But hey, Mr. Government, can you force my neighbor to give me access??? and by the way, I don’t want to pay for it. On the other hand, if i’m some dude on the beach and I want access to the guy behind the house on the beach (because he’s my buddy), I want access to his house too. Hey, Mr. Government, i want access to my buddy’s property, can you make it happen? Oh, and I DON”T WANT TO PAY ANYTHING.
    All the cell companies are f’d. Poor bastards.

    • Adam

      Great analogy, because most beaches are public. I often see people trying to rent space on public beaches. I even once saw someone trying to rent a parking spot on a public street.

  • VINN

    “Fastest Nationwide 4G LTE Network”

  • The Waz

    So is it safe to say Youtube will not be joining the program?

  • Bruce