I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for a while now and I’m very happy with their customer service and mostly happy with their cellular service. I love that they’re taking a stand as the “uncarrier” to challenge the status quo, but two recent moves, Music Freedom free music streaming and Binge-On free video streaming, are hurting way more than they help.
Letting their customers stream music and video, historically bandwidth heavy, without counting toward data usage is great for users and terrible for net neutrality, which means this is actually bad for users. In a press release from CEO John Legere he says
“We’re leveling the playing field for every legit streaming video provider who wants to participate.
but who decides what a “legit” streaming provider is? He continues:
With Binge On, our doors are open to all streaming providers who want to participate. We’ve proven our track record with Music Freedom. No one pays us, and we don’t pay them - and everyone wins – especially customers. We’re not here to play favorites. Like Music Freedom, Binge On is open to any legit streaming service (with lawful content) out there – at absolutely no cost to them. They just need to contact us and work with us on the technical requirements, optimization for mobile viewing and confirm we can consistently identify their incoming music or video streams. Content providers can learn more by going to www.T-Mobile.com/BingeOn.
There’s no doubt that users will be thrilled to stream Spotify and Netflix with abandon but if the uncarrier really wants to shake things up they should just give everyone a huge lump of data for a fair price and let us do whatever we want with it. Prioritizing services has many of the same damaging effects on the industry as prioritizing traffic and it’s potentially worse because users are likely to widely support it.