Go ahead, stream another episode of Scandal. It’s on the house.
On Tuesday, T-Mobile announced Binge On, a new service that will allow most subscribers to stream video from 24 different partners without eating into their data plans.
“The use of video as the top application is popping through the roof,” explained T-Mobile CEO John Legere at the company’s Uncarrier X event in Los Angeles. “Customers should be celebrating this, but they’re not. Penalties have them petrified.”
“What are you going to do, have family meetings to police who’s using everything?”
Binge On allows eligible customers to stream video from 24 different T-Mobile partners, including Netflix, Hulu, and HBO, without using their data allowance. Anyone with a Simple Choice plan that provides 3GB or more of high-speed data is eligible, and T-Mobile claims it will continually expand the partner list with even more streaming companies, including one notable omission from its starting lineup: YouTube.
“We’re going to work with all partners that aren’t in yet that want to be,” Legere assured the audience, noting that discussions are ongoing with YouTube, but the service hasn’t been able to meet T-Mobile’s technical requirements yet.
“This will be one of those announcements that’s going to be like leftover food. It’s going to get better every time you go back.”
The catch? Currently, Binge On caps video quality at “DVD quality,” or 480p, which Legere is quick to dismiss as perfectly acceptable for mobile devices. “Don’t get hung up on 480p,” he quipped. “When you’re holding it in your hand, it’s not even discernible.”
As with the unmetered music streaming T-Mobile already offers, Legere doesn’t believe Binge On represents a threat to Net Neutrality. “There’s no money changing hands, there’s no providers paying using to do this, there’s no customers paying us to do this,” Legere claims. “This is all about innovation, competition and consumer choice. If Net Neutrality isn’t about those things, what’s it all about?”
To that end, customers will be able to disable Binge On with a single click after logging into their T-Mobile accounts. It might come in handy, for instance, when streaming from a phone to a full-size TV, and 480p won’t cut it. T-Mobile’s video optimization technology automatically identifies when devices are connected to Wi-Fi, and turns off Binge On to prioritize quality.
At the same event, T-Mobile also introduce Simple Choice Amped, an upgrade to its most popular plan that doubles data at every tier without increasing prices. Customers with the base 1GB plans paying $50 monthly, for instance, will now get 2GB monthly for the same price. Family Match will also double data in family plans, and they can add 4GB per line for $10 a month, with no sharing.
“People hate sharing their data. I hate sharing anything,” Legere explained to laughs. “What are you going to do, have family meetings to police who’s using everything?”
New customers can take advantage of Binge On starting November 15, while existing customers will get access starting November 19. T-Mobile also partnered with Sling to give its customers 30 percent off when signing up for Sling subscriptions, which normally cost $20 a month.