One could easily argue that the new American pastime is binge-watching, thanks to services like Netflix and Hulu. Now T-Mobile is taking notice.
On Tuesday, the mobile carrier announced at a company event that it will no longer count data used to stream from a number of services toward its customers’ usage through its new “Binge On” program. The plan applies to T-Mobile’s existing and new Simple Choice customers who are subscribed to any of 24 services, including Netflix (NFLX), Hulu, HBO Go, Sling TV, and ESPN.
Yes, that means free binge-watching.
As T-Mobile (TMUS) continues to fight for market share against AT&T (ATT) and Verizon (VZ), the carrier has been loading its customers with perks. First it gave them free music streaming, and now it’s on to video, which is by far the biggest data gobbler of them all.
But while this seems like a great deal, there are a couple of caveats. First, Binge On will stream video at 480p, which, as Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson points out, may feel subpar for customers since most new devices can support a higher quality at 1080p. T-Mobile will likely have to improve this soon enough to keep them happy.
Moreover, video from YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat are not included in Binge On. This is likely to spark criticism over net neutrality, although T-Mobile CEO John Legere brushed away those concerns at the event.
“I make it very clear that we fundamentally believe in a free and open Internet,” he said on-stage, according to Re/code. “We know the principles—you don’t slow down or throttle (content). We abide by all of that … I think it’s the fundamental underpinning of what people who think about net neutrality are concerned about.”