T-Mobile CEO John Legere Continues Binge On Push, Apologizes For Verbally Assaulting EFF

All the hoopla surrounding T-Mobile's controversial Binge On program has the company's outspoken boss, John Legere, in the limelight more than usual. Drawn to defend the benefits of Binge On, both in social media and to news outlets alike, Legere is prone to lose his cool at times, and he regrets recent comments he made to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group.

EFF stands as one of the critics of Binge On. Those who oppose to the program primarily take issue with T-Mobile's wholesale downgrading of video streams to 480P or greater, which they say is throttling. Legere has repeatedly stated reasons why he believes otherwise, and in part, it's become a war of semantics.

John Legere

Things got a bit heated on Twitter last week when Leger attempted to answer questions about the program. EFF jumped in and asked, "Does Binge On alter the video stream in any way, or just limit its bandwidth?" Though it's a fair question, Legere viewed it as a veiled attack on Binge On and answered in kind. To his credit, he did answer the question before following it up by asking, "Who the f**k are you anyway, EFF? Why are you stirring up so much trouble and who pays you?"

For proponents of Binge On, it was an uncomfortable moment because the EFF is generally on the side of the consumer, just as Legere claims T-Mobile is. Legere may have recognized this on hindsight, and so he issued an apology to the digital rights group.

"Look, by now you know that I am a vocal, animated and sometimes foul mouthed CEO. I don’t filter myself and you know that no one at T-Mobile filters me either (no, they don’t even try). That means I will sometimes incite a bit of a ‘social media riot’, but I’m not going to apologize for that," Legere said.

"I will however apologize for offending EFF and its supporters. Just because we don’t completely agree on all aspects of Binge On doesn’t mean I don’t see how they fight for consumers," Legere continued. "We both agree that it is important to protect consumers' rights and to give consumers value. We have that in common, so more power to them."

Binge On

Leger also said he's planning to sit down and talk with the EFF about Binge On, perhaps diving deeper into the technical details of how T-Mobile's proprietary technology works. A surface explanation is that it detects all video on the web and determines its source to see if it should be free (there are 38 streaming services participating in Binge On), and then adjusts the resolution for handheld devices.

To recap, customers are free to turn off Binge On at any time. Legere also points out that the service is free and open to any video provider that wants to join, they just have to do a "minor amount of technical work" so that T-Mobile can reliably identify their video.