T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is bringing some of the benefits of its postpaid service to its prepaid MetroPCS brand, including unlimited music streaming without the activity counting toward customers' data buckets, and a service that will optimize subscribers' video content to let them watch more video without incurring higher data usage. The announcement comes less than a week after T-Mobile unveiled Binge On, its new offering to provide video streaming from select online video providers at no extra charge to all its customers who subscribe to 3 GB or higher data plans.
T-Mobile is also revamping MetroPCS' pricing plans, giving family plan customers more data. All of the changes and new offerings will be available on Nov. 19.
T-Mobile said 67 percent of MetroPCS customers with 2 GB of high-speed data before throttling now use all of that data by the third week of the month. With "Music Unlimited," the MetroPCS version of T-Mobile's own "Music Freedom" program, all MetroPCS customers with plans of 3 GB or more of LTE data will be able to listen to any of 33 music streaming services in the program while on T-Mobile's network without using up their high-speed data allotment.
Meanwhile, with the new "Data Maximizer" plan, T-Mobile said MetroPCS customers can watch up to three times more streaming video from "nearly all" video services, including Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Periscope. T-Mobile noted that its proprietary technology achieves this by "optimizing streaming video for mobile device screens, maximizing resolutions at DVD or better quality while minimizing data consumption." Customers who don't want their video quality optimized can turn Data Maximizer off and on at any time in their personal MetroPCS account settings.
T-Mobile's Binge On service makes use of video optimization strategies that will effectively reduce the weight of video on T-Mobile's network, thus allowing the carrier to offer video streaming to all its Simple Choice customers for no extra cost. Grant Castle, T-Mobile's vice president of engineering, said last week that, with Binge On, T-Mobile receives video streams from providers like Hulu in its network, optimizes that stream largely using adaptive bitrate coding, and then delivers it to the customers covered by Binge On. The technology is apparently going to be used in Data Maximizer for MetroPCS subscribers.
MetroPCS said it will be adding an extra 1 GB of high-speed data to its plans and will an extra 2 GB more for mobile hotspot tethering to its unlimited plan, up to 8 GB from 6 GB.The new MetroPCS rate plans for families (two or more lines) include the following:
- $25 per month: Unlimited voice, texting and data with 1 GB of LTE data for each line before throttling, with Data Maximizer
- $35 per month: Unlimited voice, texting and data with 3 GB of LTE data for each line before throttling (up from 2 GB), now with Music Unlimited, Data Maximizer
- $45 per month: Unlimited voice, texting and data with 5 GB of LTE data for each line before throttling (up from 4 GB), now with Music Unlimited, Data Maximizer
- $55 per month: Unlimited voice, texting and LTE data, plus 8 GB of mobile hotspot tethering for each line (up from 6 GB), now with Music Unlimited, Data Maximizer
For individual lines, those same plans will apply but cost $5 more per month.
- see this release
- see this TMoNews article
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Correction, Nov. 17, 2015: This article incorrectly stated that T-Mobile was increasing MetroPCS priicng plans by $5 per month for individual lines. In fact, individual MetroPCS lines cost just $5 more per month than family plan lines.