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Study reveals why Binge On was a brilliant move for T-Mobile

Published Jan 18th, 2016 1:52PM EST
T-Mobile Binge On Data Use

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I’ve personally been very critical of T-Mobile’s Binge On initiative, as I think it needlessly puts T-Mobile in between consumers and the content they want to watch. Basically, I’m uncomfortable with T-Mobile degrading all videos that go over its network — even videos from apps that aren’t part of the Binge On program — when Binge On is switched on. But while I still think Binge On has the potential to blow up in T-Mobile’s face, there are some reasons to think that it is nonetheless a brilliant business move on T-Mobile’s part that is worth the risks.

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Via PCMag, a new study from P3 Insights (PDF) shows that T-Mobile subscribers have been watching a lot more video ever since Binge On went into effect but haven’t been consuming any additional data because their video quality has been lowered to 480p. This means that T-Mobile subscribers are watching more videos over T-Mobile’s network without putting any additional stress on it.

Now, you obviously have to be OK with watching video at a comparatively low resolution but T-Mobile would argue that subscribers don’t need to have 720p video or higher when they’re watching on a smaller device anyway, and they also have the option to switch off Binge On if they want to watch something in HD.

It’s not all good news for T-Mobile, however, because P3 also agreed with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s claims that T-Mobile is throttling video data traffic over its network.

“The P3 study confirms the finding of the EFF that the bandwidth for the downlink transmission…is limited to about 1.5Mbit/s, independent of the kind of app or service being used,” the study explains.

All the same, if T-Mobile can get around the net neutrality concerns about Binge On, it will be a very savvy business move.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.