When T-Mobile introduced its Binge On service — which offered unlimited video streaming from 24 popular sites, without counting it against your monthly data quota — it seemed like a cool idea: The only major tradeoff seemed to be that you had to agree to get all that video at lower resolutions.
As it turns out, this on-by-default feature also downgrades video for sites that aren’t among those featured 24 — and it downgrades it to 480p, far below what most phone screens can handle. That, as net-neutrality activist Marvin Ammori wrote persuasively in a piece at Slate, looks a lot like the kind of interference banned by the Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality regulations.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation then ran its own tests with a video file posted on one of its own servers (clearly not an advertised Binge On partner) and found that not only streaming but other kinds of downloads were throttled to 1.5 Mbps.
That’s not the kind of help I need or want as a T-Mobile customer. Fortunately, I can decline it by opting out of Binge On. You should consider doing so too.
For most customers the process goes like this: Log into your account at my.t-mobile.com, click the Profile link at the upper right, then click Media Settings at the left; you can then turn Binge On off. As T-Mobile’s documentation reveals, some customers may have to follow different steps; for instance, in my small-business account, the Binge On off switch shows up on the main account page.
Keep track of your data use after you make this switch: If you find your video habits are putting you over your data cap, you can always turn Binge On back on.
Update: On Thursday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere wrote on T-Mobile’s blog that BingeOn is all about choice for T-Mo customers–“It’s totally up to you to decide”–and that they’re taking advantage of this free-data viewing: “Just since launch, customers are watching 12% more video.”