T-Mobile’s Legere defends Binge On yet again, this time in an open letter to consumers

T-Mobile John Legere
T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to YouTube last week to defend Binge On, and he followed up with an open letter this week to further defend the service.

Legere’s first and foremost point he wanted to get across was the fact that T-Mobile has always been about consumers since the launch of the Un-carrier, and “that will NOT change.”

He then went on to discuss how Binge On brings value to its customers. Legere points out that video streaming is the No. 1 use of data, and Binge On was created to give customers a chance to “stretch their data buckets.” He compares it to the economy button offered in some newer cars. Legere also reiterates that Binge On is absolutely free.

Binge On launched last November, giving customers a chance to stream video from over 38 video streaming sites via T-Mobile’s mobile network without them counting towards data caps. T-Mobile claims the video is being optimized to 480p in order to make this service a reality. According to Legere, this is DVD quality and more than enough for small screens.

Unfortunately the carrier has been under a lot of scrutiny after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found that T-Mobile isn’t really optimizing the video, and is instead, lowering the bitrate for all video whether part of the service or not. The EFF sees this as throttling. This results in constant buffering because those video providers not part of Binge On didn’t make the necessary changes to ensure a smooth transition down to 480p.

In the letter, Legere admits the carrier is using proprietary techniques to detect all video streams to first determine if the data should be free, followed by adjusting it for a handheld device. This adjustment occurs whether the data is free or not. Legere defends this by saying this “adjustment” helps all customers extend their data buckets.

The letter gets into the fact that providers can opt in for free, and all they need to do is make some changes on their end to optimize the video to 480p. This is another way of saying that it’s up to the providers, not T-Mobile. This is what causes the buffering issues. Legere goes on to say an additional 50 video providers want to join the service, which might help. However, Legere does point out that customers can turn off and turn on Binge On whenever they want.

The EFF, and many consumers, also complain that Binge On is a violation of net neutrality. Legere made it clear in the letter that he and T-Mobile support net neutrality and Binge On doesn’t violate it. His point of contention is the fact that the video providers don’t pay to be part of the program, and the only requirement is to optimize their video streams to 480p.

Secondly, consumers have a choice to opt in or not. It’s not forced on anyone. Legere defended the decision to automatically opt in all customers because it’s a benefit. Legere said, “Can you imagine the disappointment, if people saw our TV commercials about Binge On, then went to watch 10 hours of video expecting it to be free, and only THEN learned that they needed to go into their settings to activate this new benefit?” According to Legere, this is something traditional carriers would do.

Legere apologized for offending the EFF, and although he doesn’t agree with their arguments, he understands their position to fight for consumers. T-Mobile also plans to meet with the EFF at some point in the future.

In closing, Legere said the carrier will continue the fight to make things better for consumers, and he will most likely continue to be very vocal. We hope that will never change, John.

Mobile

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL will be coming to the U.S. with T-Mobile

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Home Theater

Banish the buffer screen with these tips for silky smooth streaming video

If you’ve been having troubles with streaming Internet videos from Netflix and other services in HD, the problem may be your network. Here’s how to make sure your streaming video experience goes smoothly.
Mobile

The Department of Justice may prevent the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Movies & TV

Two Toy Story spinoffs schedule playdates with the Disney Plus streaming service

Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming video service Disney Plus will launch with an impressive catalog of classic content, new projects, and original shows and movies. Here is everything confirmed and rumored to be coming to the platform.
Deals

Customize this Walmart Nintendo Switch bundle deal with 1 of 5 great games

Walmart is saving consumers up to $60 with a new Nintendo Switch bundle deal. Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and two others are the game options available as you put together your custom bundle.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

Intel gives up on 5G modems for smartphones, will focus on other devices

After a delay that saw Intel's manufacture of 5G modems pushed back to 2020, Intel has given up on the 5G modem business, and will focus its efforts elsewhere. But is something else to blame?
Mobile

Keep your new iPad (2018) sparkling with the best screen protectors

Your iPad sports a stunning 9.7-inch screen and you'll want it to stay that way. The best iPad (2018) screen protectors guard against cracks, scratches, and even smudging from your fingers. Check out our top picks here.
Mobile

The black satin Razer Phone 2 is now available for $500

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Mobile

The best LG G7 ThinQ cases will keep your phone looking new

The LG G7 ThinQ comes with a powerful processor, versatile cameras, and amazing sound. But a powerful phone still needs protection and you might want to change the style. Here are the best LG G7 ThinQ cases.
Mobile

Multiple phone leaks show May 21 is going to be a big day for Honor

Honor will launch at least one new smartphone on May 21, at an event taking place in London. Leaks have indicated the Honor 20 will take center stage, with a Lite version, and perhaps even another model also showing up on the day.
Mobile

Breaking news: Samsung responds to reported Galaxy Fold display issues

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

The Avalon V is Alcatel’s first Verizon-exclusive smartphone

Alcatel is has announced a new phone, the Avalon V -- but this budget device isn't what makes the announcement special. It's Alcatel's first phone on the Verizon network, and it's available now.
Mobile

Big, beautiful, and breakable: Check out the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases

There’s no denying Samsung’s ability to turn out an attractive smartphone, but glass curves are expensive to fix and metal chips easily. We've rounded up the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases on the market.