T-Mobile To Stream Video… For Free

11 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Binge on: T-Mobile exempts streaming video from some data caps.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The country’s third-largest wireless carrier is making a play to woo customers from Verizon and AT&T- and it’s all about streaming video. The Bellevue-based cellphone service provider said that watching video on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, WatchESPN and about 20 other apps no longer would count against mobile data usage.

NEW YORK (AP) — Streaming video from Netflix, HBO and other leading services will no longer count toward data limits under T-Mobile’s higher data plans.On Tuesday, T-Mobile announced at its 10th “Uncarrier” event in Los Angeles that it will stop counting video streaming from certain services against customers’ monthly data allotments. T-Mobile already exempts many streaming music services from data limits, but audio does not use as much data as video — a few hours of which can quickly eat up an entire month’s allotment under some plans.

Starting on Nov. 15 for new customers and Nov. 19 for existing customers, T-Mobile users with 3GB data plans or higher will be able to do unlimited mobile streaming from more than 20 services like Netflix, HBO GO/NOW, Hulu, and VUDU.* If this isn’t living the dream, what is? And when you’re mirroring to a big screen, say with a streaming stick that’s not on the mobile network but on Wifi, the Wifi (and higher-definition video) takes over automatically. The move by the Bellevue-based carrier is meant to satisfy growing demand for mobile video while stemming the rise in penalties for going over data caps.

It’s an attractive proposition for consumers, and T-Mobile said it can pull the offer off without overwhelming its network and undermining profits because it’s working with media companies to optimize their apps. T-Mobile’s competitors don’t have anything similar. “Customers have a huge and increasing appetite for new and innovative ways to use their smartphones,” T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said. “But what I see is there’s amazing content being created, but it’s being created for movie and TV screens. A big, big portion of data is wasted.” T-Mobile’s new system pushes for video streams, which will come in 480p resolution, to be three times more efficient in data usage. T-Mobile says there are no financial arrangements with video providers to be included, and any service can qualify by meeting technical requirements the company is posting online.

If you’re eating up your data allotment (or you’re on Wi-Fi) you can stream at whatever resolution you want, but if you have Binge On enabled you’ll be stuck at 480p. But all customers will benefit from T-Mobile’s new video-optimization technology, which the company says means three times as much video for the same amount of data. Normally, “data is wasted because on smaller-screen devices, you don’t need to get all that data to get a great picture,” said Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer.

T-Mobile already allows unlimited music streaming through Spotify, Apple Music and several other major apps, covering about 95 percent of the industry and 200 million songs a day, T-Mobile said. If they meet our requirements, we’ll investigate the feasibility of adding them.” And just to emphasize that this isn’t paid prioritization, T-Mobile adds, “No one pays to join and no money is exchanged.” It’s certainly better than an arrangement where streaming companies have to buy in, but it’s still a situation in which a carrier (the mobile version of an Internet service provider) is incentivizing customers to use some services over others. It eliminated two-year service contracts and the device subsidies that came with them, began allowing more frequent upgrades on phones, started handing out free, high-end Wi-Fi routers and opened plans to cover all of North America. AT&T and Verizon, which dominate the industry, have adopted some of T-Mobile’s strategy, like installment plans for phones rather than a two-year service contract. Legere acknowledged investors have raised concerns about T-Mobile handing “stuff out for free.” But he counters that it’s causing consumers to switch to T-Mobile.

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