T-Mobile’s Binge On is throttling all video, EFF says

T-Mobile is again being accused of throttling video as a result of Binge On, its new offering that exempts some video streaming from data caps.

Last month, YouTube complained that its videos were being degraded on T-Mobile’s network, the Wall Street Journal reported. This time, the complainant is the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which conducted tests and concluded Monday: “T-Mobile is throttling video streams, plain and simple.”

With Binge On, a service introduced in November, T-Mobile customers are supposed to be able to watch videos from Netflix, Hulu and more than 20 other video providers with which the wireless carrier has partnered without having it count against their data caps. YouTube is not among T-Mobile’s partners but said its videos were being throttled anyway.

At the time, a T-Mobile spokeswoman told me the company wasn’t slowing down YouTube videos, they were “mobile optimizing” them.

But here’s an excerpt from EFF’s findings when it tried to view a test video on T-Mobile:

T-Mobile’s video “optimization” doesn’t actually alter or enhance the video stream for delivery to a mobile device over a mobile network in any way. 2 This means T-Mobile’s “optimization” consists entirely of throttling the video stream’s throughput down to 1.5Mbps.

Binge On is raising net neutrality concerns — the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules call for no throttling or preferential treatment of traffic. T-Mobile has addressed those concerns by saying customers have a choice about whether they want to use Binge On.

I’m waiting for comment from T-Mobile regarding the EFF’s conclusions.


Photo of an outside of a T-Mobile store in California by AFP/Getty Images


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  • Bobby Kubika

    Its optional, any Binge On customer can opt out of this with a few clicks by going into their account settings to turn it off – then the video streams will count against your data as it did before and there is no compression of any video stream – and you can opt out and opt back in as many times as you would like.

    TMUS did mention in their Binge on launch pres, that if you have “Binge On” turned on, that they would “optimize”/downscale all video streams and that in addition, the streams from the 24 partners would not count against your data.