T-Mobile Finally Hooks YouTube For Binge-On ‘Zero-Rating’ Video Streaming Program

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T-Mobile’s Binge On initiative has definitely won a lot of fans in the form of customers that can now stream unlimited video at the expense of reduced quality (480p). However, the company has also garnered a number of detractors, including YouTube, which was unwillingly sucked into Binge On’s vortex with reduced streaming quality and throttling even though it had not signed up to be a partner for the service.

“Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent,” said a YouTube spokesman in December.

Well, it looks as though YouTube and T-Mobile have finally buried the hatchet, as the former has now signed up to be an official Binge On partner. Needless to say, T-Mobile CEO John Legere championed the partnership, writing, “The facts are clear – Binge On is a runaway hit, and adding these services is just huge! Now T-Mobile customers can watch all of the videos they want from these platforms without even touching their high-speed data.

“Demand for mobile video is skyrocketing. Customers at the Duopoly can either stop watching or pay bigger bills and surprise overage charges. Only T-Mobile customers with Binge On have the option to stretch their data further at no extra cost! That’s the Un-carrier way!”

So why has Google all of a sudden changed its mind about Binge On? YouTube Product Management Director Christian Kleinerman explains in a blog post that T-Mobile is being more transparent to customers on how to enable and disable Binge On, and that the wireless carrier is giving content providers more control over how their content is affected by Binge On.

“We think these changes, which T-Mobile is making for all users and video providers on a non-preferential basis, can help ensure that the program works well for all users and the entire video ecosystem,” Kleinerman added.

In addition to YouTube, other video providers that have “kissed the ring” include Google Play Movies, Discovery GO, Red Bull TV, and Fox Business. T-Mobile also adds that since Binge On launched four months ago, its customers have doubled the amount of streaming video that they watch per day. And in total, over 57 million gigabytes (57 petabytes) of data has been streamed by T-Mobile customers without burning through the monthly data allotment.