T-Mobile adds PBS, other partners to Binge On

T-Mobile continues to expand its Binge On offering, adding content from PBS, PBS Kids and a few other partners to the zero-rated video service.

Content providers Azubu, Dailymotion Games and Eyegroove were also added to the service, marking the sixth expansion of Binge On in seven months. Binge On now enables users on qualifying plans to watch video from nearly 90 partners without having an impact on their monthly data allotments.

T-Mobile said customers have streamed more than 500 million hours of video since the launch of Binge On last November, up from the 190 million hours T-Mobile reported in early April.

The nation's third-largest mobile network operator was the first major U.S. carrier to deploy zero-rated data services, and all of its rivals have followed suit to one degree or another: Verizon (NYSE: VZ) enables its postpaid subscribers to access zero-rated content through its Go90 service; AT&T (NYSE: T) continues to experiment with sponsored-data offerings; and Sprint (NYSE: S) is enabling its customers to watch every live match of the ongoing Copa América Centenario soccer tournament without incurring data charges.

Such services have consistently drawn flak from net neutrality backers, though, who claim that they provide a way to "boost favored content" and potentially violate net neutrality principles. Sponsored-data services allow deep-pocketed content providers to foot the bill for data transmissions, while smaller companies may not be able to afford to pay the freight. And critics have noted that Binge On is freely available only to video providers willing to make their content technically compliant.

"Binge On allows some providers to join easily and creates lasting barriers for others, especially small players, non-commercial providers, and start-ups," Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick wrote earlier this year. "As such, the program harms competition, user choice, free expression, and innovation."  

For more:
- see this T-Mobile press release

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