T-Mobile US took further steps to distinguish itself from rivals Verizon and AT&T as the company announced Tuesday that it will allow wireless subscribers to stream content from Netflix, Hulu and other selected online video service providers without charging against subscriber data allowances.
Known as “BingeOn,” the initiative will be rolled out Sunday to new and existing T-Mobile customers who purchase a monthly data plan of at least 3 GB. BingeOn is the second promotion of its kind for T-Mobile, which began waiving data charges last year on popular music services which cover 85% of the streamed music traffic on the T-Mobile network. (T-Mobile officials confirmed this week that the free music offering now covers 95% of available online music streaming services.) The new video offering encompasses 24 online streaming services that meet T-Mobile’s technical qualifications, and company officials anticipate that others will be added. Although T-Mobile stipulated that it will stream the videos at a lower quality in an effort to reduce network loads, company executives believe many customers will take advantage of the opportunity to watch lower-definition videos free of charge instead of using their monthly data allowances to stream videos at higher resolution. T-Mobile also expects to offset the resulting anticipated loss in data revenue by attracting more customers. While admitting that “investors will be scared because it looks like T-Mobile is lighting a torch into a competitive wireless environment,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere told a Los Angeles audience: “all I can say is we’re not . . . stupid.”