T-Mobile’s Binge On service has been the target of a lot of criticism in recent weeks, most notably from YouTube and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Today T-Mo CEO John Legere has finally responded to the critics with a video.
Legere says that he’s “concerned, and frankly, confused” about why some people have criticism of Binge On. In regards to the groups — like YouTube and the EFF — that say T-Mobile is throttling its customers with Binge On, the CEO says that those complaints are “a game of semantics” and “bulls***.”
John Legere goes on to define throttling as slowing data and taking away customer control, but Legere says that Binge On doesn’t do that. He explains that customers don’t need full video files, and so T-Mobile went ahead and built a service to “optimize for mobile screens and stream at a bitrate designed to stretch your mobile data consumption.”
Finally, Legere suggests that critics of Binge On are using net neutrality as a way to get into the news cycle.
This new video is welcome because it’s good for T-Mobile to finally come forward and issue a full response to the major criticisms that Binge On has been hit with lately. However, Legere doesn’t seem to offer much defense for Binge On other than saying that it “optimizes” video streams, though the EFF report claims that T-Mo said that the only optimization it performs is reducing bandwidth and hoping that the provider serving the video can adapt.
T-Mobile also points to a BTIG Research note that says, “Why prevent a cost-conscious consumer the ability to use one toggle that will compress all their video and save them money rather than forcing that consumer to look for that toggle switch in each application or browser that they use?” If T-Mo did all the work to create these Binge On optimizations, though, it could also make Binge On opt-in instead of opt-out and educate consumers on how to flip the toggle to activate Binge On if they want it.
One other Binge On announcement made by T-Mobile today is that the free streaming part of the service has gained support for 14 more services. Those include A&E, Lifetime, HISTORY, PlayStation Vue, Tennis Channel Anywhere, FuboTV, Kidoodle TV, Curiosity Stream, Fandor, Newsy, ODK Media, Lifetime Movie Club, and FYI. Today’s expansion brings the total number of Binge On’s free services to 38, and T-Mobile says that there are another 50 services that are interested in partnering up for Binge On.