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T-Mobile Tweaks Its 'Binge On' Video Data Plan, and YouTube Signs On

Remember when John Legere called "bullshit" on the world's largest video service in January? That was then.

The Verge
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

YouTube and T-Mobile have patched things up.

T-Mobile has tweaked its “Binge On” plan that gives users the ability to watch certain video services without racking up data charges. And as a result, YouTube is joining the plan, after months of holding out.

YouTube and T-Mobile announced the changes via a blog post and a series of tweets from T-Mobile CEO John Legere. In addition to YouTube, the world’s largest free video service, other Binge On partners include Netflix and HBO; the most notable holdouts are Facebook and Snapchat, both of which generate an increasing amount of video traffic.

Binge On, which T-Mobile introduced last fall, is one of several new broadband provider plans that gives customers the ability to limit their data charges if they use certain audio or video services.

In Binge On’s case, T-Mobile reduced the picture quality of all video services — even if they didn’t partner with the carrier — to reduce the overall load on its networks. Earlier this year, YouTube and others referred to that practice as “throttling;” Legere responded by calling that argument “bullshit“.

But that was then! Now T-Mobile is making it easier for customers to opt out of Binge On, which will allow them to stream video at a higher quality.

And it is also allowing video providers to opt out of the program. That is: If YouTube didn’t sign on for Binge On, it could send its videos through the network at a higher quality than other services.

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