T-Mobile CEO says Binge On video-throttling complaints are BS

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has heard the charges that his company’s new Binge On service throttles video, and he says they’re bulls—.

In a video and statement released this morning, Legere says Binge On — which exempts some video streaming from the wireless carrier’s customers’ data caps — is all about choice.

“Customers now have the option to get WAY more video from their data plans PLUS FREE VIDEO from popular sites, AND more power and control over how they use their data,” Legere says. He doesn’t understand what “these jerks” are complaining about, he says.

Compounding concerns that Binge On violates net neutrality, T-Mobile has been accused of throttling video. YouTube, which is not among T-Mobile’s Binge On partners, complained that its videos have been degraded for users of T-Mobile’s recently unveiled service, the Wall Street Journal reported recently. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also ran its own tests and concluded that the company is throttling video — not “mobile optimizing” them as the company has said it’s doing — as I wrote this week. The EFF’s findings confirmed what YouTube had complained about: When Binge On is turned on, T-Mobile was throttling all video streams, not just video of its partners — which include Netflix, Hulu and others.

Legere says “everyone wins here”:

There are people out there saying we’re “throttling.” They’re playing semantics! Binge On does NOT permanently slow down data nor remove customer control. Here’s the thing, mobile customers don’t always want or need giant heavy data files. So we created adaptive video technology to optimize for mobile screens and stream at a bitrate designed to stretch your data (pssst, Google, that’s a GOOD thing). You get the same quality of video as watching a DVD – 480p or higher – but use only 1/3 as much data (or, of course, NO data used when it’s a Binge On content provider!). Watch more video, use less data from your service plan. That’s an important and valuable benefit!

The T-Mobile CEO also says customers are “thrilled” with Binge On, which he points out can be turned on and off. (Here’s how.) He dismisses complaints by “special interest groups” he thinks “may be using net neutrality as a platform to get into the news.”

The Federal Communications Commission has asked T-Mobile and other companies that have rolled out zero-rating programs — which offer services that don’t count against data caps — to talk by Jan. 15.

Here’s Legere’s video on where else, YouTube:

Photo at top: A T-Mobile store in San Francisco. (Getty Images)

 

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