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  • T-Mobile Fights Claims That it's Throttling YouTube Traffic on the 'Binge On' Plan


    Just about a week ago, YouTube made a claim that T-Mobile was throttling YouTube users to poorer streaming quality and not giving users a way to opt for higher quality video when subscribed to the 'Binge On' promotion. Instead, users are forced to watch videos in 480p (DVD quality) and can't watch videos in high definition while mobile without a Wi-Fi connection.

    With 'Binge On,' users are not subject to data usage when watching videos from certain services on the cellular network. The only catch is that users have to put up with the lower streaming qualities to qualify for the freebie.

    T-Mobile has now responded and suggests that the accusations that it is throttling video usage is untrue. T-Mobile instead says that it's not "throttling," but rather "mobile optimization," and believes that its practices are not against FCC rulings.

    Originally Posted by T-Mobile:
    Using the term “throttle” is misleading," a representative tells me in an e-mail. "We aren’t slowing down YouTube or any other site. In fact, because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before. A better phrase is “mobile optimized” or a less flattering “downgraded” is also accurate.
    T-Mobile's 'call it something else' semantics game is sure to attract attention from the FCC when they eventually get around to looking into what appears to be questionable practices that take power over Internet away from the end user. T-Mobile also says that users can opt out of 'Binge On' at any time, which will return users to high definition video, but will also count against the users' monthly data plan.

    Source: MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: T-Mobile Fights Claims That it's Throttling YouTube Traffic on the 'Binge On' Plan started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      “mobile optimized”? This is why I ain't letting go of my T Mobile unlimited plan. [emoji1]️
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Let me get this straight. T-mobile says they're not throttling the speed but they're admitting to lowering the streaming quality? And if you don't like it you can always pay for the data? What's the difference? Screwing people anyway, don't they?
    1. Oniszczak's Avatar
      Oniszczak -
      So how is it "mobile optimized" if your mobile device has a higher resolution screen than what they have degraded it to? That's what we normally call "a lie". A 1080p mobile device screen would be "mobile optimized" if the video was shown at 1080p, but T-Mobile is serving up an NON optimal 480p. Also, if the bandwidth is reduced by the service provider, which it is, that's called "throttling". Geez, someone buy these guys a dictionary - and may I humbly recommend starting with the word "unlimited"
    1. Kyori's Avatar
      Kyori -
      I dont why you guy are being so salty about it when they are trying to help or provide more option. Maybe you can suggest them to make people opt in instead. It is not forcing you, it like complaining why fries always comes with salt. For the most part I see would it benefit or in favor of most user. Not many users watch like a full movie on the mobile device and even then most are probably not on the go doing so. Therefore, many would have wifi if they are not really on the go. If you care for quality so much, maybe you should even use a mobile device to watch. If you are really watching full length movies and stuff on the go all the time, then you should get the unlimited data and you would have to even care for the blinge on. Another thing is mobile data is somewhat unstable to begin with, so by compressing actually give you a smoother experience and i think 480p aint bad. Lastly, if you value for the coverage and reception over price and worry-free of overage go for another carrier. There are pain point on their network especially indoors. At the end, it is still all up to you no one is really forcing you. If some people are not aware of blinge and care for the quality they would probably notice the quality isnt that great and find out about it.

      By the way, the bandwidth isn't reduce, it is the file size. You still have the same bandwidth. It may take less to keep it smooth, so now maybe you can watch a video and download an app at the same time with your unused bandwidth rather than having a glitchly video with an download of an app. If you have to question their dictionary, that it is same across the industry "unlimited".

      They are doing all this for us at their cost. Dealing with provider, support the technology, and potentially more load on their towers because it will enticing more people streaming because it is free. Unlike some carrier just try rip you off with overages, sometimes by the time they warn you, you are already over.
    1. V1cmlb's Avatar
      V1cmlb -
      I have the unlimited data plan and I called and told them to turn OFF the binge on now I have no issues.
    1. Darkflame's Avatar
      Darkflame -
      They say it's not throttling because they are not limiting the speed at which the data goes. They are just forcing the companies who use that unlimited feature to use less bandwith.

      It's akin to dropbox saying "You're dropbox account comes with 5GB of storage. However, any files that are stored in compressed zip format will not count towards your storage allotment".

      The FCC has no claim because they are not giving preference. Anyone can take advantage of the perk. They just have to compress their data. Now if they approached specific companies and said hey, we'll hook you up with unlimited data if you do this this and that then that would be a violation. I believe T-Mobile has stated that anyone can use the feature, they just need to compress the data.

      In the end of the day, throttling is throttling. Compressing data is a form a throttling but the FCC rules limit the slowing down of data. There is no guidelines in determining the efficiency of data travel. It's a clever play within the scope of the FCC rules.

      There should be rules regarding efficiency that forces companies to be more efficient. What good is having the latest and greatest 5G devices coming out the pipeline. You go to load one youtube video as soon as you walk out the door and you'll burn 80MB pre-buffering two minutes of some stupid video of a cat playing a piano which you watched for two seconds before you ended up moving on to something else. All of these companies are so hell bent on pushing data down your throats faster because it gets you to the finish line of your data consumption sooner at which case their hands will be ready to accept your next wad of cash to continue playing.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      In any case, are they not required to inform users of this somewhere in the fine print instead of being told on by YouTube?
    1. Kyori's Avatar
      Kyori -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      In any case, are they not required to inform users of this somewhere in the fine print instead of being told on by YouTube?
      I'm not sure if they are required to but it is a relatively recent thing, so if you are new to T-Mobile you probably will know. I'm not sure if they give formal notice but it all over the website. I'm sure they not trying to hide it, it is actually their selling point. Like they offering unlimited data for three month many may not know. They should consider give more formal notice. I don't if the other carriers even informal notice for their rate change or increase like Verizon add $50 for their grandfather unlimited. Their intention is good so we as user maybe can give them suggest and don't really have to get salty about it.
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      The New Lexicon

      mobile optimized = throttling
      unlimited = limited
      enhanced interrogation = torture
      war = peace
      freedom = slavery
      ignorance = strength
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      In any case, are they not required to inform users of this somewhere in the fine print instead of being told on by YouTube?
      They do, in fact when you login to your T-Mobile account, there is a banner mentioning Binge On under Billing with a link that tells more bout it and how to disable it and honestly, I don't see a difference in how the videos look with it turned on s with it turned off. So while the resolution may say 480P, they have done something to make it look better and isn't that all that matters in the end?
    1. Steiganator's Avatar
      Steiganator -
      I work for T-Mobile currently. Binge On doesnt promote YouTube in the first place. YouTube is not included in that promotion, nor has it ever been stated anywhere that it is going to be supported for Binge On. So this topic is very silly because T-Mobile doesn't throttle YouTube or anything you may do with your smartphone unless you run out of the amount of data you pay for.
    1. WHUDS's Avatar
      WHUDS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steiganator View Post
      I work for T-Mobile currently. Binge On doesnt promote YouTube in the first place. YouTube is not included in that promotion, nor has it ever been stated anywhere that it is going to be supported for Binge On. So this topic is very silly because T-Mobile doesn't throttle YouTube or anything you may do with your smartphone unless you run out of the amount of data you pay for.
      Run out of data? Thought the whole binge thing was unlimited? Honestly T mobile did not think this through well, AT&T got into trouble by limiting "unlimited" because how can it be unlimited with limits?