T-Mobile took aim at the data overages charged by rivals AT&T and Verizon, launching an Uncarrier 10 initiative that lets many subscribers stream DVD-quality video from 24 online streaming services without using up the data in their LTE data buckets.
People using the Binge On service must have LTE data buckets of at least 3GB.
The carrier also doubled the amount of LTE data that subscribers can get from any existing plan at no extra charge. An unlimited LTE plan continues, but now, 14GB of that LTE data can be used for mobile hot spot service, up from 7GB.
Calling AT&T and Verizon “dumb” and “dumber,” CEO John Legere said the carriers’ subscribers “are living in fear or shock of their bills,” thanks to data-overage charges that prompt them to sign up for more data than they really need. With Binge On streaming of 24 video services, “you can watch what you want without watching your data,” the company said
The carrier also launched a Family Match program, doubling the data buckets of family plans if all family members choose the same-size bucket. Families whose members mix and match buckets will nonetheless get discounts up to 25 percent.
T-Mobile launched its latest data initiatives now that it has improved and expanded its LTE network to 302 million people, 176 million of whom can access the carrier’s low-band 700MHz network for improved in-door and longer-range coverage.
For its Binge On streaming of 24 video services, the carrier is making use of proprietary technology that makes video streaming more bandwidth-efficient by reducing “wasted overhead.” The technology also lets all subscribers fill their LTE data buckets with three times more video than before when streaming video services not yet included in Binge On.
The 24 services included in Binge On will be expanded as more services meet T-Mobile’s technical criteria, the company said.
In other Uncarrier 10 programs:
-- Binge On customers with unlimited LTE get one free streaming movie rental every single month from Vudu in 2016.
--and all subscribers get a 30 percent discount on a SlingTV subscription.
The first 24 services participating in BingeOn are Crackle, Encore, ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Go, HBO Now, HBO Go, Hulu, MLB, Movieplex, NBC Sports, Netflix, Sling TV, Sling Box, Showtime, Starz, T-Mobile TV, Univision Deportes, Ustream, Vessel, Vevo, Vudu, and Verizon’s Go90 and AT&T’s DirecTV streaming services.
Over time, the streaming quality will improve beyond 480p with future network and codec improvements, the company said.
Legere said BingeOn does not violate the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations because service providers aren’t charged to participate, nor are consumers charged more to access the Binge On service providers. In addition, consumers can turn off Binge On, thus improving the resolution of the video streams and allowing for higher resolution on phone-connected TVs.