Mobile users do not have a problem with the Binge On service, at least according to John Legere, the outspoken chief executive officer of T-Mobile, who continues to defend the video streaming feature it introduced nearly a couple of months ago. In a blog post published this week, Legere reiterated that customers should try the feature, and not mind what the critics are saying.
People who have already tried Binge On may have liked the feature, but in other circles, the service has taken some flak in the last few weeks. For those not in the know, Binge On basically allows mobile users to stream videos from various content providers without having to worry about their data allotments being affected. It is quite a clever idea, but industry watchers are starting to question if the feature, as a zero rate service, is in violation of the net neutrality rules set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As for the FCC itself, it also has begun sending a letter of inquiry to T-Mobile, asking for more information about the Binge On service.
Legere is clearly undaunted by all the bad publicity. In his blog post, he provided new data regarding the growth and increasing popularity of the new Binge On feature. He pointed out that 14 new video content providers have participated in the service, including A&E, Lifetime, and PlayStation Vue, with another 50 others expressing interest in participating. When it was launched in November of last year, the feature already had 24 video content providers in its fold, including ESPN, Netflix, and Hulu, among many others.
As for its initial popularity, T-Mobile’s Binge On service, Legere claims, has its video usage increasing 12 percent since its launch. Also daily viewership numbers on one of the top video services has increased 66 percent for mobile users not subscribed on an unlimited data plan. Lastly, viewing duration is also up 23 percent.
All well and good for Binge On’s statistics, but will these numbers be enough to distract people from all the flak? Just this week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a report stating that the Binge On service does indeed throttle all video content, even for subscribers who are not on Binge On. Earlier, YouTube had accused the Binge On of throttling all YouTube videos without its or the users’ consent (note: YouTube has not participated in Binge On yet).
Legere’s response: those critics are just playing semantics. Interestingly, the one body who could go well beyond semantics -- the FCC -- has remained mum so far. Perhaps it is just biding its time, and until it does decide on what to do with all of this, the war of words may well keep raging on.
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