T-Mobile presented new stats indicating that Binge On is a hit with customers while also announcing a handful of new partners have joined the zero-rated service: Amazon Video, Fox News, Univision NOW (Univision’s recently launched subscription OTT service), and WWE Network.
Binge On, an optional service launched about three months ago, exempts streams from partnered OTT services from T-Mobile’s data-usage plans, and uses a proprietary, bandwidth-efficient encoding scheme that delivers video at resolutions at up to 480p. More than 40 partners are involved, including Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Showtime, Starz and Sling TV.
As usage goes, T-Mobile said customers on qualified data plans are watching more than twice the video than before via Binge On. The company added that one unnamed partner has seen a 79% increase in daily views since Binge On was introduced, and that its customers have streamed 35 petabytes of data for “free” so far, claiming that it’s equivalent to more than 109 million episodes of Game of Thrones (at DVD quality).
T-Mobile also introduced new “short codes” to change settings and to toggle the Binge On service on or off (#BOF# (#263#) to turn it off, and #BON# (#266#) to turn on Binge On).
Among other U.S. wireless carriers, Verizon Communications has since introduced FreeBee Data, a sponsored-data service, and AT&T has hinted that it’s looking into similar, sponsored-data offers.
Zero-rated and sponsored data offerings have been criticized by network neutrality advocates and by Google over claims that Binge On is “throttling” YouTube streams, but T-Mobile has been adamant that its approach isn’t throttling and is well within the FCC’s guidelines.
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