T-Mobile Removes Data Caps from Some Streaming Video Services
The Un-carrier is going where no wireless carrier has gone before -- lifting some major limits off video streaming from users' wireless devices. With Binge On, T-Mobile is tapping into the rising demand for mobile entertainment with a mobile video deal that could cause competitors to make counter offers to avoid losing customers.
Starting Sunday, T-Mobile customers can freely stream video from HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, Sling TV, STARZ, WatchESPN and other cable providers to which they subscribe -- and the company promised that more streaming services are on the way. The groundbreaking aspect of the deal is that streaming video from these services doesn’t count against the customer’s high-speed data usage and there’s no hidden charges involved in what T-Mobile has dubbed “Un-carrier X,” according to the company.
T-Mobile didn’t stop there with its sudden attack on competitors. The company rolled out its biggest Simple Choice plan overhaul ever, effectively doubling data at every tier and slashing the prices on extra gigs. That means families can now use twice as much high-speed data today as they did last month without paying a penny more. The big news has John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, boasting and trash talking while the industry waits to see how AT&T and Verizon will respond.
More Reliable Streaming
“Today, we’re not only doubling your data in Simple Choice, we’re making your data work a lot harder for you,” said Legere. “With Binge On, video streams free from 24 streaming services to start, and more to come. Only T-Mobile would find a way for customers to watch unlimited HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV and more . . . without eating into their LTE data, while the duopoly is squeezing consumers with overage fees and over-buying.”
T-Mobile customers can also tap into live video streams from Crackle, Encore, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Go, MLB, and others if they subscribe to those services. Binge On also includes Verizon’s Go90 and AT&T’s DirecTV streaming services. And, still more services are on the way.
“With Binge On, no one pays -- not the customers, not the video streaming services -- and everyone wins,” said Legere. Binge On optimizes video for mobile screens so it uses as little data as possible while still offering 480p or better quality, making for more reliable streaming, he noted.
T-Mobile has done its research on this opportunity. In the past two years customers have started using nearly two-and-a-half times more wireless data for mobile video, according to the company. With the market set to explode -- forecasts predict a more than 400-percent increase in mobile video usage by 2020 -- T-Mobile seems to be positioning itself to compete on this front.
At the same time, T-Mobile is attacking the big players in the market in true Legere style. The announcement accuses them of exploiting the mobile video trend for profit, driving an “unprecedented surge in overages.” T-Mobile said the carriers are expected to bring in $2.4 billion this year from overage penalties, up 60 percent from $1.5 billion just last year. AT&T and Verizon were not immediately available for comment.
As part of the roll out of Binge On, T-Mobile is offering 30 percent off a 12-month subscription to Sling TV’s “Best of Live TV” package that’s already available to Simple Choice customers. In 2016, each T-Mobile customer with an unlimited LTE package gets a free streaming movie rental every month with Binge On.
As far as pricing, a Simple Choice customer pays $50 a month for unlimited data, talk and text. A user can add a second line for $30 a month and add up to 12 more lines for $10 a month each -- all with 2 GB of 4G LTE data.