Three UK has followed the lead of T-Mobile over in the U.S., with a new offering that zero-rates data from certain streaming services, so they don't count against customers' data allowances. "Go Binge" (even the branding is remarkably similar to T-Mo's BingeOn) is included as standard for new and upgrading Three customers on SIM-only, "Advanced" handset and mobile broadband contract plans with allowances of 4GB or more per month.
Existing customers will need to change to a new, more expensive plan to take advantage of Go Binge. Three says Go Binge can be used with its "Feel at Home" roaming service, which allows customers to roam at no extra cost in 60 territories around the world — though other fair-use restrictions still apply.
Three has hinted that more services will be added in the future.
The number of services supported by Go Binge is pretty limited right now — only Netflix, TVPlayer, Deezer and SoundCloud at launch — so it's disappointing to see staples like BBC iPlayer and Spotify missing the boat. However Three says it's "always looking to add more services" — and for what it's worth, BingeOn also started small, adding more supported services over time.
So despite the big marketing push behind Go Binge, it's starting out relatively small, both in its base of supported streaming platforms, and the customers who'll be able to take advantage of the feature — remember, none of Three's current subscribers will benefit unless they upgrade or switch to a more expensive contract. It's also unclear how Go Binge will coexist with Three's unlimited "All You Can Eat" data plans in the long term — free streaming could eventually be used to coax subscribers off unlimited plans.
Three does at least appear to have dodged the bullet of downgraded video quality, an area of controversy for T-Mobile in the early days of its unlimited streaming offering. Jonathan Morris reports that streaming quality on Go Binge won't be restricted in any way.