T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) finally added YouTube to Binge On, filling a noticeable void that existed since the program's launch in November. But that isn't the only new Binge On content partner that's sure to raise eyebrows.
YouTube generates the largest amount of data traffic among all mobile applications, according to Strategy Analytics, but its content hadn't been included in T-Mobile's Binge On until today due to technical reasons.
YouTube dominates total data traffic (including Wi-Fi and cellular) in the "entertainment" category among Strategy Analytics' AppOptix U.S. Android sample.
And Google's online video property complained in December that T-Mobile's zero-rated mobile video service degraded all mobile video, not just the content from providers that are part of the program.
T-Mobile has also been criticized for not being sufficiently transparent about its Binge On policies with users. But YouTube Product Management Director Christian Kleinerman wrote on Google's Public Policy Blog today that the carrier has made progress by making it easier for users to opt out of Binge On, incurring full data charges in exchange for the ability to access higher-quality video.
The operator is also working to give video providers more control over their own content, according to YouTube.
"While T-Mobile has always stated that any video service can join the program at no charge, prior to our discussions, video services were not given a choice about whether their streams would be managed by T-Mobile if they didn't not join the program," Kleinerman wrote in announcing YouTube's support of Binge On. "Going forward, any video service meeting traffic-identification requirements will be able to opt-out, and T-Mobile will stop including them in the Binge On program and will no longer modify their video streams. In addition, T-Mobile will now work with video services that wish to optimize their own streams, using an average data rate limit. This allows video services to offer users an improved video experience, even at lower data rates, by taking advantage of innovations such as video compression technology, benefiting T-Mobile, their customers, and video providers."
YouTube is one of several new Binge On partners T-Mobile announced; others include Discovery GO, Fox Business and Red Bull TV. But the carrier was noticeably circumspect about the apparent new addition of MiKandi, a self-described "adult app store" offering adult-themed videos, games, comics and chat. MiKandi wasn't listed as a new provider in T-Mobile's announcement, but a spokesperson confirmed that it is the first adult content provider to apply to the program and meet the technical requirements.
"As we said at launch, we're committed to free and open Internet, and part of that commitment means Binge On is open to any lawful video service that would like to join and meets our technical requirements," the spokesperson said in confirming the addition of MiKandi.
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