YouTube joins Binge On, will handle optimization instead of T-Mobile

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 17, 2016
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t-mobile binge on

YouTube and T-Mobile are burying the hatchet: John Legere just announced that YouTube is the latest video service to stream over Binge On, T-Mobile’s free video streaming option.

YouTube was the biggest content provider missing from the Binge On catalog. The Google subsidiary and T-Mobile have quarreled over the way T-Mobile downgrades streaming quality of all streaming services, regardless if they are included in Binge On or not, down to 480p. The “Un-carrier” defended this practice by saying it’s merely optimizing video traffic for cellular connections. But critics complained that the option to enable video optimization should not be on by default and argued that T-Mobile is playing fast and loose with net neutrality rules.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere publicly invited YouTube to talks and it looks like the two parties found a compromise. Starting today, YouTube will be part of Binge On, meaning that users who opted for the service won’t pay anything for the traffic generated by YouTube.

There is more: YouTube, not T-Mobile, will optimize the video streams. Legere says that this arrangement will give YouTube more control over its content and that other providers will be able to do the same in the future.

Also, content providers are now able to opt out of the optimization scheme – that means that, if they want to stream in 4K, they will be able to do so, of course, as long as T-Mobile’s subscribers are happy to pay for this luxury. T-Mobile says it will publish the content providers that opt out of optimization on its website.

Other video providers coming to Binge On today include Fox Business, Red Bull TV, and Discovery Go, bringing the total number of services available up to 50.

John Legere used the occasion to hawk Binge On to both users (“our customers are watching two times more video each day than before Binge On”) and to content providers (“one of our top video services has seen the number of active users spike an impressive 90% since launch.”) The boisterous executive also promised that more change is coming to “this arrogant industry” calling out the “duopoly” of Verizon and AT&T.

Are you excited about YouTube joining Binge On? Let us know your thoughts.

  • glenn silvasy

    I am very happy that youtube has been added. This is my go to media service when I have down time at work as it may only be a few minutes, not enough time to watch a show or movie but enough to watch a 3 minute video. Thanks TMO and Youtube

  • Bradley Uffner

    Another champion of Net Neutrality sells out.

    • Dominick Wheeler

      “sells out”
      That would imply there’s an exchange of money somewhere. It’s a free, optional service.

      • Nick

        Nothing is “free.” What if your video service does not meet the requirements T-Mobile specified to be a part of the program. Now you have to pay engineers, developers etc to make a special service just to comply with T-Mobile to be a part of the program.

        Also, it’s “optional” right now. But how optional is it when you start losing users because they get a huge T-Mobile bill for view videos on your site, but not on YouTube?

        This is just a first step.

        I do not blame people for wanting this even, it sounds great and can save people money right now. But with how much money these companies are making from us they should be building out the networks so that data is super cheap for everyone so this is not even a problem.

        Instead they spend millions on lobbyists to block municipal wifi and other services that would allow us all to view ALL of the internet equally for a low price.

        • AndroidDev123

          If you’re a content provider who doesn’t employ any engineers, or at least contractors, you’re not going to be in business for very long. Business is all about rolling with the punches, and if it’s worth your time and money to support T-Mobile’s requirements that’s just the cost of doing business. It’s like if a competitor came out with a better UI and you had to adjust to meet user’s expectations. You can choose not to and let your business fade away, or keep pushing forward to remain relevant. Innovate or die!

  • Dominick Wheeler

    Looks like I’ll finally be reactivating Binge on for my tablet. Glad to hear it’s finally expanding. I’ve been waiting for youtube, and it’s nice that video providers can opt out. My only suggestion is to let users opt out of certain services themselves, so that say netflix is free with binge on optimization, but I can keep Youtube native without binge on at the same time.

  • Just amazing news, the need for an Internet connection at home may have just disappeared.

  • Chauntella Stephanie Brown

    I plan to switch to T mobile very soon, but before I do l have to ask. What if I turn binge on off and just use wifi, will be videos still only stream in 480p? Because l have a 1440 p display and wanna watch videos in 1080 or above.

    • Nick

      It’s in the T-Mobile FAQ, they say on WiFi it displays video at full speed. I believe the video throttling they do is on their side of the network. So if you are not accessing the video through their cellular network then the video will not be encoded.

  • Nick

    I am still amazed at how many people are happy about this. This is just a first step to tiered internet with a sugar coated on it to make us all swallow it and cheer about how great T-Mobile is. The Internet started off all about simplicity and equality of content. How long until they do something like Verizon was doing with home internet, and charging Netflix for delivering their service at acceptable speeds. As the Binge-on program becomes more popular they will leverage their user base to force video providers to pay access fees.

    Personally I actually left T-Mobile for Project-Fi mainly because of this program. If I watch tons of video on the go, then yes Project-Fi will cost more. But it also treats all content fairly, and provides access to the Internet as it was intended.

    • Yadwinder Gill

      And some people call India a 3rd World Country. At least we are taking the lead in net-neutrality. Not to mention that ALL the smartphones sold in India are totally unlocked and there exists nothing like Career contracts

    • AndroidDev123

      This isn’t a net-neutrality (tiered internet) issue because it’s an open system where any content provider can apply and users can turn it on or off for free. The requirements for supporting it are clearly laid out for content providers, and it’s free to apply to have your service added. The only reason it isn’t turned on for all sites automatically is because not all sites can technically have their bandwidth reduced in the way T-Mobile’s doing it, which is the whole reason T-Mobile is offering free data (frees up their bandwidth while avoiding free streaming of 4K videos). There’s been no indication that they’d start charging content providers for free streaming, either for their new video service or their long standing audio service, and if they did they’d get a huge backlash from both consumers and content providers.

      Don’t get me wrong, I still think we need net-neutrality as law in the US, but it should still allow free services like this, which only provide more choices to consumers in how they want to use their devices (personally, I turned Binge-on off).