If you’re a T-Mobile subscriber, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. This week, the third largest nationwide wireless carrier announced that streaming video from certain platforms will no longer count against your data plan.
WHAT? The program is called Binge On, and it’s launching on Saturday to T-Mobile subscribers. Platforms included in the deal are 20 of the biggest names in streaming video, like Hulu, Netflix, Vevo, HBO Now and HBO Go. YES, you can now watch every episode of Jane the Virgin or Game of Thrones on your smartphone and you won’t get slapped with any crazy overage fees.
Streaming video is now the number one use of mobile data, according to T-Mobile, and is often what maxes out data plans in the first place — just one hour-long show a day will eat up 14 gigabytes of data per month. Plus, T-Mobile also claims that forecasts predict video streaming will increase by 400 percent by 2020. Holy cow. So this plan is kind of a huge deal. Alas, nothing is perfect (of course there’s a catch). It’s only available to subscribers who have at least a three GB data plan per month and up. Also, while most mobile devices are pretty small and it won’t be a huge deal anyway, the quality of the video will be bumped down to 480p, which CEO John Legere describes as “DVD quality.” Sorry, no Ultra HD here.
There’s also the problem of net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that all Internet service providers, or ISPs, should provide access to all content without favoring one source or site over another. Clearly, as there are only 20 sources available on the T-Mobile Binge On plan, net neutrality might be out the door in this case. Why should you care? Because competition is severely limited when ISPs don’t practice net neutrality and instead broker a deal with tech giants like Google, leaving smaller sites to fend for themselves. There are a lot of dangers associated with that. According to John Legere, however, video service providers and T-Mobile users alike can participate in Binge On for free, and the criteria for joining is pretty simple. “Anyone can do it,” he says.
What do you think about T-Mobile’s Binge On? Sound off in the comments below!