Critics Beware! Binge On is about customer choices – not limitations

By John LegereJanuary 07, 2016



I’ve seen and heard enough comments and headlines this week about our Binge On video service that it’s time to set the record straight. There are groups out there confusing consumers and questioning the choices that we fight so hard to give our customers. Clearly we have very different views of how customers get to make their choices -- or even if they’re allowed to have choices at all! It’s bewildering …so I want to talk about this.

First of all, T-Mobile always…ALWAYS…thinks about how to improve the customer experience and how to make wireless better. We’re obsessed with it. It’s how we built Un-carrier and won millions of customers away from the carriers.

It’s also why we launched Binge On a couple months ago.

Customers now have the option to get WAY more video from their data plans PLUS FREE VIDEO from popular sites, AND more power and control over how they use their data. And customers want it! Video usage is huge! Just since launch, customers are watching 12% more video. In fact, we’ve already seen daily average viewership on one of our top services spike 66% among customers not on unlimited high-speed plans, in other words the ones who benefit from Binge ON the most! AND viewing time increased 23%. It’s crazy!

And let’s be clear…any video content providers can choose to be included and have their content stream free if they’re technically capable. We launched with 24 partners like Netflix and Hulu and just today we announced 14 more that we just on-boarded, including A&E, HISTORY Channel, Lifetime, PlayStation Vue and more. And more than 50 other service providers have raised their hands to be included. Way more than we expected so soon…so I think they get it!

So, let’s see…our customers love it, our content partners love it, anyone can join, there is no charge or extra fee, and you don’t have to do anything to get it, NOTHING. And best of all, customers have COMPLETE CONTROL over how or whether to use the benefits of Binge On … and these guys are lobbying for headlines to make that sound like a bad thing. Are they crazy?? Seriously, what am I missing here?

There are people out there saying we’re “throttling.” They’re playing semantics! Binge On does NOT permanently slow down data nor remove customer control. Here’s the thing, mobile customers don’t always want or need giant heavy data files. So we created adaptive video technology to optimize for mobile screens and stream at a bitrate designed to stretch your data (pssst, Google, that's a GOOD thing). You get the same quality of video as watching a DVD – 480p or higher – but use only 1/3 as much data (or, of course, NO data used when it’s a Binge On content provider!). Watch more video, use less data from your service plan. That's an important and valuable benefit!

Most importantly…YOU, the customer, are always in complete control of your experience. If you decide you WANT the full resolution video, great! Just flip the switch in your account. It’s totally up to you to decide. You can do this as often as you want and it stays set the way you set it.

So why are special interest groups -- and even Google! -- offended by this? Why are they trying to characterize this as a bad thing? I think they may be using Net Neutrality as a platform to get into the news. As a company that’s a huge fan of a free and open internet, I find that disappointing. At T-Mobile, we’re giving you MORE video, more for free, and the power of choice. What’s not to love??

YouTube complained about Binge On, yet at the same time they claim they provide choice to customers on the resolution of their video. So it's ok for THEM to give customers choice but not for US to give our customers a choice? Hmmm. I seriously don't get it. Customers have MORE choices than before. And these guys are complaining? Who do they think they are? Do they have the right to dictate what my customers – or any wireless consumer -- should or should not be able to choose for themselves?? No way!

By the way, what do you think Dumb and Dumber would have done if they’d been first to market with this technology? I guarantee you they would have found a way to charge you -- the customers -- AND the video content providers! But we GAVE it to customers – at zero additional cost -- just because you picked T-Mobile.

Look, everyone wins here! Customers are thrilled – trust me, I hear from them every single day in social media. Video providers couldn’t be happier to deliver more of their great content to mobile devices, knowing their viewers aren't forced to "watch the data meter."

Music Freedom paved the way back in 2014. We launched with 7 music partners to offer free music streaming that doesn’t hit your data. Today we have more than 40 music services and our customers stream almost 200 million songs EVERYDAY! It’s amazing! All at no cost to customers…and no cost to partners. It’s really hard to argue with the customer benefits of this model.

But, hey, I guess there ARE several ways to handle the exploding demand for mobile video:

  1. Do nothing and leave consumers to fend for themselves.
  2. Charge a ton more in monthly bills and overage penalty fees – I’m looking at you Verizon and AT&T.
  3. Or… innovate with new technology to get more video to customers who want it and give them options if they don’t.

Number 3 is the Un-carrier way.

Of course we’re going to give customers great choices. I can’t figure out who the big guys are advocating for?? All I know is who I’M fighting for…and that’s you and America’s wireless consumers. Every day. You can count on it.