T-Mobile customers have been able to stream music from major sources without having to worry about exceeding their data caps, and this year, have been able to view virtually unlimited video as well.
The carrier's “Binge-On” program last month began to include Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go as sources of binging. Noticeably absent is YouTube.
The Google-owned video content provider has aired its complaint to The Wall Street Journal. In a statement to the newspaper, the company says consumers are benefiting from reduced data charges but “that doesn't justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent."
No HD YouTube viewing
According to the statement, YouTube is particularly irked that T-Mobile customers on the Binge On plan aren't able to watch HD versions of YouTube videos. Instead, they get a 480p version.
YouTube cites two issues – T-Mobile customers get poor quality YouTube videos and the data counts toward their bandwidth limits. Second, it claims T-Mobile enrolls its customers in Binge On without asking them first.
This is actually an area under study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has adopted a net neutrality policy, meaning a network can't favor one provider's content over another.
In February, the FCC adopted a Net Neutrality Rule, specifically prohibiting service providers from creating “fast lanes” and charging content providers extra to use them. In taking the action, the Commission declared that broadband Internet service should be classified as a public utility, like telephone service, bringing it under tighter regulation.
Earlier this month, the FCC asked T-Mobile, as well as other networks that offer special rates on streaming, to provide more information about how those services work.