T-Mobile continued to expand its zero-rated offerings, adding content sources for both its Binge On and Music Freedom offerings.
Nickelodeon, Dailymotion, EPIX, Spike and TV Land are among the latest partners for Binge On; new content partners for Music Freedom include Amazon Music and ESPN Radio. Both offerings enable users to stream content without having an impact on their monthly data plans, although video for Binge On users is "optimized" -- or degraded -- to minimize the network payload.
With the new content partners, the two services now stream music and video from more than 100 sources, T-Mobile said.
The zero-rated services have clearly gained substantial traction with T-Mobile users, as CEO John Legere outlined in a new video blog post. Music Freedom streams 210 million songs every day and has streamed 90 billion songs since its launch in June of 2014. And Binge On users have watched more than 190 million hours of video. Users have consumed more than 350 petabytes through the two services.
But T-Mobile has drawn flak from critics who claim the two services violate net neutrality principles because they favor certain content providers over others. Binge On is open to any video provider, but content partners must first meet technical requirements that allow the carrier to identify the content source so the video doesn't take a toll on users' monthly data allotments.
While the requirement may be easily met by video companies that can afford to make their content compliant, it could be a significant hurdle for smaller companies, according to Stanford law professor and net neutrality expert Barbara van Schewick.
"Binge On allows some providers to join easily and creates lasting barriers for others, especially small players, non-commercial providers, and start-ups," van Schewick wrote in January. "As such, the program harms competition, user choice, free expression, and innovation."
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler initially indicated he believed Binge On doesn't violate net neutrality rules, but he summoned T-Mobile to visit the Commission to discuss its data policies in January. Meetings with both T-Mobile and Comcast were "productive," according to an Ars Technica report.
- see this T-Mobile press release
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