YouTube, which allows for streaming at resolution up to 4K, is in no rush to make itself available to T-Mobile’s ‘Binge On’ program because it degrades video quality.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, a YouTube spokesperson said “reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent.”
Binge On is active by default for all T-Mobile customers, and must be manually turned off. If a T-Mobile customer opts out of Binge On, all video will count against their data plan.
Customers don’t have granular control over which services they want to use for Binge On, either.
Currently, T-Mobile has other big-name partners; Netflix, HBO and Hulu apparently have no issue with its program.
Aside from video quality, it’s not clear if YouTube has other issues with the program. The FCC has begun looking into T-Mobile’s ‘zero rating’ schemes — Binge On and Music Freedom — so perhaps YouTube is simply avoiding what it anticipates to be a messy situation.
There may also be technical hurdles. While T-Mobile doesn’t exclude partners from joining Binge On, YouTube traffic isn’t always recognized by Binge On’s software, which could lead to errant charges.
Between the technical and philosophical differences between YouTube and T-Mobile, I wouldn’t expect to see the two come together under the Binge On umbrella any time soon.
➤ YouTube Says T-Mobile Is Throttling Its Video Traffic [The Wall Street Journal]