John Legere is now on a mission to end charges incurred by consumers for going over their monthly data limit and he’s doing it by doubling data plans and offering free optimized video streaming.
At a flashy event in Los Angeles, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said his company would be doubling the amount of data included in its Simple Choice plans, while also subsidizing data usage incurred while watching videos.
“A big, big, big portion of data is needlessly wasted,” Legere said. “And the big guys love this.”
Aside from increasing Simple Choice data buckets to 2GB, 6GB and 10GB per person, T-Mobile will now optimize video viewed over its cellular network with something called “Optimized Stream.” The tenth Un-Carrier offering is called Binge On and allows users to watch unlimited video from participating services and the content won’t count against the user’s data bucket.
“With Binge On, users can stream video without using any of your high-speed data bucket,” Legere said.
Legere addressed questions about whether the service might be in violation of the FCC’s net neutrality rules around prioritization, saying that any content provider can participate in the program as long as they meet T-Mobile’s technical specifications and that users can opt in or out of Binge On.
“This is not a net neutrality problem,” Legere said.
Users will be able to shut the service off if they prefer, and the new optimization technology will allow users to stream three times as much data via video from services that aren’t participating in the program. Those who opt to turn off the service, however, should note that videos from Binge On services will not stream for free in that scenario and will count against the customer’s high-speed data allowance.
According to T-Mobile, participating services include Crackle, Encore, ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Go, HBO Now, HBO Go, Hulu, MLB, Movieplex, NBC Sports, Netflix, Sling TV, Sling Box, SHOWTIME, STARZ, T-Mobile TV, Univision Deportes, Ustream, Vessel, Vevo and VUDU. YouTube isn’t included in the list of participating services, but COO Mike Sievert said T-Mobile would love to have the video service on board.
“We’re going to work with all partners that interested,” Sievert said.
Legere said he was so serious about including any services interested in participating that he would also include pornography services.
Also in the list of services covered under the new offering? Verizon’s go90 and AT&T’s DirecTV streaming services, which Legere said the Un-carrier was including as part of Binge On “just because we can.”
Though the data used to stream will be free, T-Mobile said some third party subscription charges may apply. To celebrate the launch, however, T-Mobile is offering its customers a 30 percent discount on a 12-month subscription for one such provider, Sling TV. Another launch promotion offers users a promotional code for one free movie “rental” on VUDU.
Binge On will provide “DVD-quality video,” Legere said, which would be at a resolution of 480p. Neville Ray, the company’s CTO said that the company will continue to work on bettering the quality going forward.
“We’ll continue to improve and further optimize,” Ray said.
T-Mobile also said it will be increasing the high-speed tethering limit for its Unlimited plans from 7GB to 14GB. Unlimited users will also be getting a free monthly movie rental from Vudu.