Binge On is flawed and John Legere needs to stop defending it

T-Mobile
T-Mobile (Image credit: Android Central)

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is concerned — confused, frankly — by the way Google and the EFF have reacted to Binge On recently. He can't figure out why everyone doesn't love the way he's giving his customers choices that no other carrier is offering, and is downright angry at the people confusing his customers by claiming his company is doing something they shouldn't be doing in order to offer people all the free video they can consume. He knows his customers love it — they tell him on Twitter every day — which is a big part of why this whole accusation of throttling is so confusing and concerning.

Well, John, let me spell it out for you.

Let's first stop by the T-Mobile website advertising Binge On (opens in new tab). Without a doubt, this is a pretty sweet deal. Unlimited free video streaming from the services T-Mobile has partnered with, and in return all you have to do is let T-Mobile limit the quality of that video to DVD quality, which is usually right around 480p, or "standard definition." Better still, this feature costs you nothing and is available to anyone paying for more than 3GB of monthly data. Sure, it doesn't cover every single streaming service right now, but it's a new service and growing all the time. If you want to watch something in HD, you need only flip a switch and disable Binge On. Simple stuff, and a seriously generous offer on T-Mobile's part.

Before YouTube can compensate for the dramatic decrease in available bandwidth, the user is left with a stuttering, buffering video for seemingly no reason.

What isn't mentioned anywhere on the first page of this marketing site is what happens when you watch something from a service that isn't a Binge On partner. To get any information on that at all, you have to head down to the little FAQ at the bottom of the page, hidden by javascript. Open the first bubble and you'll see "almost all other video streaming is optimized for mobile so you watch 3 times more video with your data plan" in the explanation for how Binge On is going to work. No other details, just "optimized for mobile" and a vague benefit to how much more data you get to spend on other things. That doesn't sound like a bad thing at all, and it's not like we won't see almost everyone partner with T-Mobile eventually.

Here's where things get fuzzy. YouTube — without a doubt the biggest video streaming service on the planet — is not a Binge On partner. When T-Mobile tries to "optimize" a YouTube stream through Binge On, the end result fits into the wrong side of that "almost" we saw in the FAQ. YouTube sees the speed of your connection to its servers and offers you a video file that matches that speed, so you ge the best quality without any problems. When your connection allows for 10mbps, you get an HD file. But when Binge On sees that video file, it slows the connection down to 1.5mbps to force YouTube to "optimize" for your screen. Before YouTube can compensate for the dramatic decrease in available bandwidth, the user is left with a stuttering, buffering video for seemingly no reason.

BingeOn

That's a weird situation for YouTube to be put it, and it gets even weirder. Binge On is so great that it's on by default. Every T-Mobile customer with more than 3GB of data has Binge On enabled as soon as the phone connects to the network. If you don't want BingeOn, you have to disable it yourself. T-Mobile makes this easy, but they don't make it particularly clear that a significant number of streaming and buffering issues from video services that aren't Binge On partners are happening because of Binge On. Users who aren't even aware of how Binge On is functioning — because it's not explained clearly anywhere — aren't going to blame T-Mobile for a poor experience. They're going to blame the content providers, and the only ways the content providers can get around this problem is to either partner with T-Mobile or tell their customers that T-Mobile is why the stream isn't as good as it should be.

BingeOn is on by default because it saves T-Mobile a whole lot of bandwidth, which means it saves T-Mobile a whole lot of money.

You see, Mr. Legere, you are offering a service that is on by default and causes problems with services you aren't partnered with. YouTube pointed out that Binge On was the problem, and you blew them off. The EFF pointed out that not only is Binge On the problem for YouTube, but for any video file over an HTTP connection that isn't part of the Binge On partnership. You responded by telling your audience that this special-interest group was misleading customers and just wanted attention. You're looking at facts and calling them bullshit with a smile and a wave, only that doesn't make those facts go away.

Binge On is on by default because it saves T-Mobile a whole lot of bandwidth, which means it saves T-Mobile a whole lot of money. If you made Binge On an opt-in service, fewer people would use it because there's always going to be people out there who either don't care enough to enable the feature or don't know to turn it on because the phone was a gift or they weren't listening to the rep during the purchase process. Those same people are now using Binge On and can't figure out why YouTube and other services aren't working very well right now, and you keep telling those people it couldn't possibly be your fault when there's a ton of evidence suggesting the opposite.

BingeOn disabled

Yes, you can turn Binge On off anytime you want. Yes, T-Mobile has made that abundantly clear at just about every turn. The problem has never been the ability to disable the service in order to get the highest quality experience, although it is worth mentioning the ability to disable this feature is fairly well buried in the T-Mobile app. The problem is in that "almost" from the little bit of text hidden on the T-Mobile site advertising Binge On, and the knowledge that the single largest video service on the planet fits in that category. Users aren't going to disable Binge On if they don't know it's part of the problem, and with the CEO swearing that Binge On is a good thing and couldn't possibly be the problem because it's a service that offers choice, you are being part of the problem on purpose.

This is an incredibly cool service to offer your customers, but acting like there aren't problems and responding to legitimate criticism with an insult-riddled blog and video is just plain wrong. In fact, it's the least uncarrier thing you could do in this situation. Instead of dancing around the issue and spinning it so everyone else looks like the bad guy, why not be the good guy and admit the service is flawed. And then fix it.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

335 Comments
  • It really ain't that hard, turn it on, or turn it off. Next problem please.
  • Wow, look at that: The point flew right over your head...
  • When they announced Binge On, it was known then that it could be turned off or on. People need to read the fine print and also realize most things have limitations. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • what fine print? it's clearly stated on their webpage in normal size print, dead center.
    Coverage not available in some areas. Capable device required for 4G LTE speeds. Video streams at DVD quality (480p+) with Binge On. You may disable Binge On at any time, but will lose Binge On benefits
  • OK, how about just read what you are getting into. My comment clearly states that it was made available. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • you stated it was fine print and most would think it would be hidden lawyer speak at the bottom of the page in size 2 font. sorry if I tripped over your tears for net neutrality...
  • I didn't realize your picture was next to the definition of perfection. I wish you would have tripped, I would have had a good laugh. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • This is one of those things that STUPID PEOPLE get hit with. I have no sympathy for non-techies who don't take the time to learn their device or carrier. Note 4 {Sprint 5.1.1}, with nothing enticing to upgrade too.
  • You talk as though this was an opt-in service, but it's not. It's opt-out. A switch was flipped and everyone, including existing customers, were given this feature. Asking everyone to read the fine print on something they didn't sign up for so they know how to react when something seems broken later on isn't realistic.
  • ^^^^^^ This guy gets it. Bingo. Fantastic article. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If YouTube was smart, they would do what Netflix did to AT&T when data was throttled. Let the user know on the screen that it was their IP service causing a problem, not them. Or what a number of streaming services do and that is to let the users test their IP connection. This has much greater impact then just crying about it. I do agree it isn't right, but for Youtube to come out whining and pointing fingers just makes them look like babies, with an axe to grind against T-Mobile. My guess is, Google contacted them and were treated badly, so this was their way of getting back at T-Mobile. This is about making investors nervous about what T-mobile is doing, not about the users. A long play on hurting them. It was a good article and it is true, but don't play into these companies media hype. Google is perfectly capable of really hurting T-mobile if they wanted too. This is just a pee'ing contest between a couple of CEO's.
  • It was a feature that was added. You opt out if you don't want it, how hard is that? Like I mentioned before I read about on Facebook before reading about it in here and it's on their website. Could they have done a better job making people aware? Yes, but it's not like they didn't do anything. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Negative option used to be the way things were done all the time back in the day. Companies used to send people products, then bill them if they weren't sent back. At least until it was made illegal. More recently, in 2011, an EU directive banned pre-checked boxes during online purchases. The problem with negative options, is that they are deceptive and everyone is aware that they are deceptive. You never know what is going on in another person's life, and expecting them to suddenly take an action to express choice is unreasonable. It's this very expectation that makes man people easy to hoodwink, to the degree that regulators are finally stepping in and saying "that's not fair". People are busy working, paying taxes, complying with ever more laws. Perhaps someone's parent passed away and their grieving, perhaps someone's having difficulty elsewhere, life is complex, and checking their cellphone carrier's website or advertisements is pretty low on the list. People have a good-faith, reasonable expectation that they will get what they pay for, and have been receiving. If that offering is going to change, they have a good-faith expectation that they will have to agree to it first. I mean, if you want to keep holding that illusory expectation that adhesion contracts are binding, you still have to get permission before making material changes, or else it's not a contract at all (then again, it never truly was). Negative-option turns this common-law notion on it's head, and suddenly requires people to disagree if they don't want certain changes. Problem is, that can get out of hand very quickly. Most people have, what, 20 - 30 accounts across the spectrum, and if negative-option were the status-quo, maintaining these accounts would become a full time job. It would become overwhelming as companies stuck consumers with one thing after another, hoping that they wouldn't notice, and profiting greatly as a certain percentage of people never will notice. That's not legitimate business, though. You're supposed to convince people that they want something, and get them to willfully acquire it, not stick them with it and make them give it back. The latter is intellectually dishonest and deceptive. Not to mention, lazy. I mean, why hire sales guys when you can just foist it on people who are ostensibly "under contract" and thus captive? So much for the free market. Before you start celebrating an economy that worked like this, I'd respectfully ask you to think it over for a little while first. While the mega-corporations of the world would certainly approve of your "what's the big deal?" approach to negative-option changes to consumer offerings, you can be sure that it would be overwhelmingly to the consumer's detriment, and with the Supreme Court basically eliminating consumer's rights to sue, they'd be little you could do about it. Much like everything else, we'd grumble about it, then slowly accept it as the way things are. It appears that some of you are already there. I certainly hope you're in the minority.
  • Well said. As a marketer, I recognize tmo's tactics for what they are... Dishonest and a bit lazy. This is clearly primarily a bandwidth management tool for them, rather than a value add for their customers. Now, it's still not clear to me that the actual experience is as bad as people are claiming... I still can't replicate any stuttering... But the marketing tactic is wrong. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You must be a lawyer. Your view on contractual obligation is deep and I fully agree with you. Law makers have devised contractual laws so that a contract must generate an obligation to be executed by the issuer of a contract so that the obligation be fixed or determinable. They mean to protect individuals from meaningless effects. A negative options removes the ability of a consumer to negotiate what he wants and is similar to a meaningless effect. You would be surprised, I saw appeal court justices claim that it was OK to contract something meaningless for a party. That judge was so right wing that he felt that large institutions were smart to issue contracts that were null and useless to a party. As Einstein once said ,,,
  • dupe
  • @wezi427 Were you proactively contacted by T-Mobile prior to the feature being automatically added to your account? As has been stated, it's one things offering a new feature that customers can knowingly take advantage of, it's another quietly activating that feature on someone's account without directly advising them you are doing so (ie: direct mailer, customer call, SMS notification...). Listing it on their website and FB is irrelevant to most existing customers who guaranteed don't regularly visit their carrier's site or use FB as a source of contractual changes to their "un-contract".
  • Yes. I was notified by T-Mobile. And I didn't even end up getting it at all. At least some unlimited LTE customers didn't get BingeOn addedl. I was one of those -- and I wanted it. But I found a way to get it and have complained since. And getting it was more difficult than flipping a switch.
  • So a 5 year old trying to watch Minecraft videos on YouTube and a 2 year old trying to spam frozen clips are supposed to fix it themselves? If your response is "be a better parent and fix it for them" then that isn't a good answer as my spouse wouldn't even know where to look to fix it and I can't say I would automatically realize what was going on. I was aware when binge on showed up because I happened to be reading my junk email at the time.
  • You didn't skip over the email and took the time to read it, so you were aware of the changes because of the email sent to you from T-Mobile. So......... I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Word and exactly. It's a bullshit Apple forcing a U2 album on everyone approach plain and simple.
  • Existing customers, even paying unlimited customers. I already pay for unlimited so this "service" means nothing to me. I really never gave it a second thought until now. After reading how it's messing with certain providers and lowering quality I just went in and turned it off. If it really was some altruistic gesture, as they position it as being, then why would it be defaulted to on for unlimited customers? It's all marketing BS, it's a way to position themselves as the hero and gain customers and save money at the same time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It does benefit Unlimited customers. Their 14GB of hotspot isn't being touched when streaming through partners with Binge On enabled, say on another tablet or on their TV via hotspot.
  • Opt in / opt out? Either way, there will be people who just don't know about BingeOn because they didn't read the e-mail, the website, the text messages or the new articles about it or they didn't understand it. Under opt-out, a unknowing user experiences lower video quality and likely look into the reason. There is a quick and easy answer found all over T-Mobile's Website, all over Twitter, all over the internet. Turn Binge On off if it doesn't work for them. Or maybe they'll be happy knowing that their limited high speed data hasn't gone down so fast and want to keep it. With opt in, people who didn't know about it might use up their limited high speed data when the didn't need to. And there's no easy fix to that.
  • Typical T-Mobile fanboy loser Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually I think it flew over yours. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No. I don't think he missed the point whatsoever. I think he just thinks that this whole deal is not a big deal whatsoever. T-Mobile clearly stated that all other video that is not part of BingeOn is going to be "optimized". I read it myself on their website when I was doing research on what exactly was going to change with my service. A well informed customer that makes adult decisions should have done some research before accusing T-Mobile of "lying".
  • They should've made it opt in and there wouldn't be anything to talk about. Simple as "I'm in!" or "No thanks" as a link in the BingeOn email they sent all of their customers.
  • Its called Lying By Omission. And using the term 'optimized' is clearly deceptive. That term is usually used in a positive way. Here, it means something bad for the user.
  • In this case, "optimized" isn't bad for the user when the point of the optimization is to lower the amount of data being used to watch non BingeOn content. And again, if a customer doesn't like the 480p they are watching then they can contact either customer service or go to My T-Mobile and turn off BingeOn. And if the customer doesn't have any idea what is going on with their video and why its buffering or lower in quality then they can contact customer service to see what is up, which then the representative will inform them of BingeOn.
  • Or... TMo could not enable this by default.
  • That is a valid point, however, they did market it quite a bit and customers were notified of what was coming.
  • You make it sound simple, but I doubt a confused uninformed customers calling customer support will get any mention of Bing on "optimization" as the root cause. Posted via the Android Central App
  • T-Mobile has pretty good customer service so I would think they would do their job and inform correct information.
  • So call then up and act uninformed see what happens. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, they don't. The month long process of porting a number sacral weeks ago proved that to me. Including lies such as "Tmo doesn't have an agreement with CenturyLink so that number can't be ported" - right. Despite the law that says otherwise. Offshore porting reps and store associates gave me wildly different answers. Finally after 3 weeks it got escalated to a US employee who had a clue and was empowered to actually help. Oh, and the guy setting up my PIN entered it completely incorrectly, twice. So no, I have no high opinion of their customer service.
  • T-Mobile customer service is atrocious Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's the point. T-Mobile is telling them that it's not their problem. It's the content suppliers that are causing your device to stutter and buffer. Did you not read the whole article?
  • He specifically talks about it in the article. Youtube doesn't go to 480p, it just loads a lot slower than usual and has buffering problems. It only slows down the data transfer. For videos such as in the EFF article, the video in a stream just takes longer to stream and buffers more because there's no option to reduce the quality. Why doesn't T-Mobile just slow down your entire internet and hide the switch to turn it off in the fine print. It's "optimization" because when they slow down your internet by 10x, "you get to use 10x more of your data!" Let's pretend that benefits the customers.
  • If they were actually optimizing something, it would be a different case. As the article points out, they're just relying on the video provider (whoever it may be) to notice you have a bad connection and do something about it. They aren't "optimizing" at all. Instead of being honest about what they're doing so that people can make an informed decision (or not make any decision at all), T-Mobile is playing the blame-game. You can get that treatment from the other carriers. If T-Mobile wants to be the un-carrier, we should expect better.
  • Provided they are aware it's there. I think that's the point.
  • If it's so simple, how come you yourself appear to have misunderstood it? YouTube is NOT scaled to 480p, it's the BingeOn services that are scaled to 480p. All other services are throttled to 1.5 Mbps, which could result in buffering and video quality less than 480p depending on how the video provider "optimizes" for low bandwidth connections. LG G3.. waiting for Marshmallow...
  • I'm laughing at my desk getting curious looks. This was funny Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol. Your post made me laugh harder than have in long time.
  • 95% of the general public has no idea how any of this actually works and can't be bothered to read a tech blog or understand an explanation of it. Russell's piece was spot on and t-mobile needs to come clean and realize that they are causing a lot of their customers a huge pain in the ass. A very simple statement such as you may notice problems when streaming video services that are not part of binge on, if you do, turn it off like this.... it really is that simple for them to do, but they haven't and that's the big problem. Via the Android Central App
  • Like myself, a customer could have gone to the website and read everything to see for themselves that all video is optimized unless manually turned off through My T-Mobile. It isn't that difficult. And if they don't like it then they can have another service provider buy out their dues to T-Mobile and make a switch. People love to complain about everything these days.
  • Agreed, people want everything done for them. If you are a new customer and actually go to a brick and mortar store then the sales reps should explain how it works. If you're a preexisting customer it should have a link on your bill/text message with a link. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Do you honestly imagine a sales rep is going to tell you, "Hey, its a great service for most videos, but oh, not so great for YouTube." Let's be honest: People should indeed get more informed on their own. But companies also shouldn't take advantage of them by hiding behind terms people associate with something positive.
  • Or they could just not say anything and people will think that T-Mobile blows. For me at least, especially if I was on a data plan, I would want someone to tell me how Binge On worked so I could watch those services in a lower quality without going over my limit or opt out. Call me crazy, but I respect honesty. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Blaming the user only works when the service works as intended, and even then it's kind of lame. In the case of YouTube, it clearly doesn't.
  • Typical loser T-Mobile fanboy Posted via the Android Central App
  • The problem with your argument is that you assume most people are knowledgeable and understand the correlation between the term "optimized" and real world effects on data transfer. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Most people aren't techies and really don't notice it.
  • You put too much faith into the average user.
  • My 70 year old father doesn't have the technical prowess as us "younger" folk. He would have no idea about any of this unless I told him because well, he's not savy. If I didn't, he would continue on with a "bad" experience knowing nothing of the sort and continue on thinking it was normal. See that's the problem. Tmo is betting on the fact that millions will have no clue saving them money. You are also forgetting that "US" blog readers are in the minority. We don't represent the countless millions and blaming them is so wrong on so many levels. Shame on you.
  • II'm curious. Does your 70 year old father watch a lot of video on his mobile device?
  • Yup. YouTube of his grandson. Ones that me or the wife send him to watch him grow up.
  • Maybe since youtube is the main thing people are complaining about they just need to get youtube partnered as well... Google could even make it clear if they were a partner and maybe Tmobile would let them add a bingon/off button to youtube lol!
  • Bingo! I actually disagree that most people would blame the app etc. such as YouTube. They will blame Tmobile for sh*tty data speeds. So it's in their own interest to add such a disclaimer.
  • That's not the point. You know it's not the point. You're being obtuse. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Did you not read the article stupid? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It really is not hard to optimize your optimizer and turn bingeon off when it has a file from a non partner Posted via the Android Central App
  • But then T-Mobile wouldn't save money from the decreased bandwidth. They should just automatically add all video to the service. If they are able to tell it is a video so they can throttle it, then they can activate the service for all video, not just partners. YouTube will probably still not work correctly though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • In a way, they did add all video to the service. It's all throttled and "optimized/throttled". Only, sometimes it still counts against your data. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Now with that outta the way, AC can u please make the post comment icon transparent so it doesn't block the article thx Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very well written Russell. Posted via the Android Central App
  • While well written, perhaps it's time we hear about this from someone other than Russell at AC. We've heard his thoughts on this and John Legere before and could have predicted just about every word.
  • I'm sorry you have a hardon for T-Mobile and Legere and just don't like hearing the truth Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. There have been a lot of articles and think pieces about Binge On and the EFF's findings recently, and most are littered with oversimplification and misunderstanding. Even as someone who generally thinks that Binge On is a legitimately cool feature for T-Mo subscribers, I can't really take issue with any of Russell's objections. T-Mo and Legere botched the roll out on this, and Legere's belligerence and lack of humility isn't helping.
  • Most people I know call their service provider when the video on their internet is not working well (and I know a lot of people in this situation because I work for an ISP). I didn't realize that many people actually blame the content provider (not sure I buy that still). At any rate, if they call in and say they have issues with their video then they should be told about BingeOn if they don't already know about it so they can turn it off. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Someone give this man a gold star. It really isn't that complicated. The only issue here would be if T-Mobile was deliberately trying to deceive people when they called in Posted via the Android Central App
  • They are deceiving people you fukin idiot Posted via the Android Central App
  • But when some video like Netflix works and then YouTube doesn't, most people will not contact the service provider. They'll just be like, "Man, YouTube sucks now. It's terrible."
  • Dang! Russell going in on T-Mobile. And no less than they deserve. Hey, with the money their saving maybe they can be bothered to actually expand their coverage. For all their talk of being the best carrier, they still have millions of potential customers they can't reach because they won't or can't seem to expand outward.
  • They've expanded their coverage dramatically the past year. Where have you been?
  • Lol. Maybe they have, but the areas I travel through still have less than stellar TMo coverage. East Texas, North Louisana, South Arkansas are areas with bad TMo service.
  • Where? Posted via the Android Central App
  • In rural areas it is still pretty bad. Last summer at a small beach town in Oregon I got no service at all while some of my relatives had LTE on Verizon. Same was true for the trip to get there.
  • I actually get really good coverage. I'm perfectly happy with T-Mobile other than when they do shady things like this.
  • This piece is spot on. If T Mo thought everyone understood how to enable the service, it would be opt-in. Clearly it's opt out specifically to snag those who aren't aware of it.
  • Starting with opting out was the best way to get it to everyone fast. Where I feel they dropped the ball was in making it more clear and easy to opt out. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's what Apple did with WiFi Assist, and now they're seeing the problems inherent in opt out services. People (and by that I mean your everyday average smartphone user who doesn't read tech blogs to stay informed) who aren't cognisant of when that feature will cost them money are ending up with overages on their bill. They could have a clearer indication that they aren't under WiFi anymore (whether a more noticeable icon in the status bar or a popup message) and will incur charges. But they didn't, and now instead of people seeing the services as a plus, they'll see it as another way OEMS/carriers have to bilk them out of more money. Apple has engineered the iPhone's stigma as one of "so simple anyone can use it", but in this case they are now acting like thse same people should be more aware of the inner workings of the phone. I would wager that most people harldy look at the status bar for indications unless something isn't working. WiFi Assist works in opposition of that because it strives to give them a constant, seamless data connection, so the customer doesn't see that they may have strayed from their WiFi connection and are now being charged for the data they're using. Again, either making it opt in or giving the user an " in your face" notification that they're no longer on WiFi would solve the problem. They seem to want it both ways, so simple anyone can use it, but make sure you're aware of what your current data connection status is. Those two concepts work in opposition to each other for the general masses. In this case, if Legere had simply said, like Russel had alluded to in the article, that streaming quality for non partnered services could be adelversely affected with the service enabled, there wouldn't be an issue. None of what Google, YouTube, or the EFF has said is wrong. The service is good when used correctly, but he also has to admit it's shortcomings as well. Pretending the problem doesn't exist doesn't change anything or solve the issue. The problem is no one wants to admit any issues with their services or devices, thinking people won't want to use them. I would argue that people would have a better opinion of them for being transparent up front rather than being deceptive and then coming clean later.
  • A: T-Mobile has no overages
    B: Binge On is FREE
    C: You can disable it EASILY Most of the attention on this is from Big Red & The Death Star, with thier PR teams. Then you have Russell who writes a nice article about a free service that hurts no one. This whole thing is BS & simpleton in its approach by its detractors. I have yet to hear a real T-Mobile paying customer upset about this. And if it's so damn upsetting & they are too dumb to hit a button, which clearly Russell is implying, port your number out to glorious, pro internet Verizon, where...oh...yeah. Shut the fu*k up already. Its like listening to Trump supporters. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think you can love your T-mobile service and still have qualms about how it's implemented.
    I love my T-mobile unlimited service, my wife and I are on the old 2 unlimited lines for $100 plan
    best deal in wireless, I won't be leaving this plan anytime soon. But Binge-on has issues
    At the very least they need two toggles, one to turn binge-on for binge-on partners on or off
    and one to turn the binge-on throttling/ optimizing whatever you want to call it for non-partner sites. the reason is simple the 1.5 mbps limit that they are applying to non-binge on partners can create buffering issues on other video sites not optimized for binge-on.
    I'm on unlimited so it doesn't matter much to me, I just turned it off.
    It doesn't mean I hate T-mobile or want to leave, but the service has a few issues and they need to be ironed out. I do agree also that unlimited customers at the very least shouldn't have had the feature automatically enabled, for us unlimited customers it really doesn't help us in any way, it was enabled for us to save T-mobile money, plain and simple. I love my T-mobile service, but they just like Verizon and AT&T can make mistakes
    They made a few mistakes with Binge-on that I totally believe can be corrected
    But you have to remain objective, don't blindly support anything T-mobile deploys because you like the service overall.
  • I totally agree with you. YouTube for me works great with Binge-on. Anyway, you guys should know that anyone concerned about video quality is more likely to know about Binge-on and how to turn it off.
  • I think people with unlimited plans should not have been opted-in automatically. I don't have a limit so I don't care about "optimized" video. They did it to be sneaky and save money.
  • It was easier for Tmobile to flip the switch on everyone than to nitpick a few that didn't want it I guess
  • I am on unlimited also and had them switch it off (business accounts have to call in). That said, how are they being sneaky about it? Long before it went into effect, I received both emails and text messages from T Mobile informing me of the program with links to the website for more detailed information.
  • You don't care about your SMHS getting tripple the capacity for free? Cool story. Neither did I. So I I logged in & turned the thing off. Wow. So hard. I'm so happy I can live my life now, that 20 seconds was SO stressful. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have unlimited LTE and I love unlimited free streaming on SMHS. I watched three movies today on my TV, and didn't use a drop of my data bucket. Gee we both have the same plan. I have a need for Binge On and I'm happy. You don't need BingeOn and turned it off with a couple of clicks in 20 seconds. And we're both happy. It's too bad so many others are so upset about the biggest change in mobile service since the last major change which was also made by T-Mobile. There are an innovative bunch.
  • Excellent write up. I hope new customers will read this article so they know they're getting duped.
  • Can you explain to me how I'm being duped? Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're not the average consumer. That's evident from your having an account to AC. The average consumer doesn't know why YouTube is buffering like crazy, when Netflix seems to work just fine. This is the duping he's speaking of.
  • There is no dupe. Besides the fact that many video services suffer from buffering even before T-Mobile put this out. In reality they'll just assume nothing has changed. The few that call in will probably get told to turn off Binge On if they are having too many issues.
  • Hmm...I haven't had buffering issues in a few years
  • What's sad is that you had to spell this out.
  • I'd rather have a data cap and go over it and pay a fortune, but that's just me. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • And you have that option by turning it off. Ain't choice great?
  • Yes it is! I actually have unlimited through T-Mobile. It's not an issue for me. I turned Binge off. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Is there away to turn it off with MetroPCS? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought they didn't get the uncarrier features? Posted via the S6 Active
  • MetroPCS just got the unlimited music and have the 3x video for the same data (not free streaming). The programs have different names there, though.
  • Great article. This is the first one I have read that actually fully explains the downsides. T-Mobile has been doing some great things. As with all new things sometimes there are kinks to work out. Now lets see how T-Mobile tweaks this going forward. Also I have been using BingeOn and I am ok with 480p on my 5 inch screen. Before this I world never dream of watching Netflix or Sling TV on my phone.
  • Literally the only issue I see with BingeOn is that it apparently doesn't disable when on WiFi. From what I've read. Between the emails sent to consumers, the print stating 480p large enough on their commercials for me to easily spot it without looking at the fine print, I don't see the issue. Enjoy FREE streaming or opt out. Simple. This is still a much better solution than the other carriers have, which is making you PAY. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've noticed WiFi too and I think you are spot on with the other part of your comment. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • I don't see how that can be true. When on WiFi you are not going through T-Mobile's servers. It's not a app on the phone that does this. It's all in between when connected to T-Mobiles services.
  • It's true. I opted out and haven't had an issue since. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Spit balling here but there is a setting on my Note 4, the name of which escapes me at that moment, that allows the data stream to switch between whichever is better, Wifi or Cellular. So, if the LTE connection is better than your wifi connection with this switched on, BingeOn could be in effect even though your connected to wifi.
  • It's called Smart Network Switch (at least on my Note 5) and you are absolutely correct. Ironically, it's of by default and comes with a warning that turning it on may result in additional charges depending on your payment plan.
  • That would be a huge issue, don't you think? Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • BingeOn can't work while you're on wifi... how's that going to happen? Tmobile has zero to do with your wifi.
  • Not sure, just what I'm reading from comments. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's just one of many incorrect FACTS going around.
  • Huh, weird, it replied to my comment. Whoops!