YouTube Accuses T-Mobile of Downgrading All Video With Binge On Program

YouTube this morning provided a statement to The Wall Street Journal criticizing T-Mobile’s recently introduced Binge On program and accusing T-Mobile of throttling all video and not just the video of its Binge On partners.

Launched in November, Binge On is a T-Mobile video service that allows T-Mobile subscribers to watch video from content partners without it counting against customer data plans. The catch is that it uses a proprietary data compression algorithm to stream the video in 480p. While Binge On can be disabled, using the feature requires partner video to be watched in 480p, which T-Mobile calls „DVD quality.“

T-Mobile has 24 partners for Binge On, including Netflix, HBO, Sling TV, and more, but YouTube has not signed up to participate. Despite the fact that YouTube is not partnering with T-Mobile, the company says its video streams are still being downgraded to 480p quality, a problem YouTube would like fixed.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., said T-Mobile is effectively throttling, or degrading, its traffic. „Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent,“ a YouTube spokesman said.

The Internet Association also backed up YouTube’s claim, stating that T-Mobile’s Binge On service „appears to involve the throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion.“

T-Mobile did not address YouTube’s complaints when questioned by The Wall Street Journal, instead giving a blanket statement about Binge On. Customers love „free streaming video that never hits their data bucket“ and „the quality of their video experience and the complete control they have.“

The United States Federal Communications Commission is looking into Binge On along with free data services from AT&T and Comcast. While there is no formal inquiry at this time, the FCC has asked the three companies to answer some questions about their free data practices. YouTube’s accusations could further spark the FCC’s interest, especially as some consumer advocates believe that programs like Binge On violate net neutrality rules.

Tags: T-Mobile, YouTube
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Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for iPhone 5 Wi-Fi Defect That Caused Data Overages

Apple today was hit by a class action lawsuit from iPhone 5 and 5s users on AT&T’s network. The lawsuit alleges that the Cupertino company knowingly concealed a defect in the iPhone 5 and 5s that caused the devices to use LTE data even when connected to a Wi-Fi network.

In September 2012, some iPhone 5 users noticed the bug after finding that they were going through more data than usual. Shortly after the issue came to light, Apple and Verizon issued a fix for the bug, with Verizon confirming that users affected by the bug would not be charged for their data use.

However, according to an investigation by law firm Hagens Berman, Apple and AT&T never issued a fix nor did they acknowledge the defect. The firm and plaintiff Thomas Palmer believe that Apple should not have kept the fix from AT&T customers, and that the company failed to address the issue even as it released iOS 7 and the iPhone 5s.

We believe Apple should not have withheld this repair for AT&T Wireless subscribers for any period of time. By withholding this information and repair, consumers were unaware of the defect and were left to sort out high cellular data charges with their wireless carriers.

Specifically, the law firm says the defect occurred when a user streamed „high volumes of data“ for 10 to 20 minutes. In this case, the GPU would take over all video decompression, decoding and presentation to the display. Because of this, the CPU was not needed and would go to „sleep“ to conserve battery life. When the CPU went to sleep, the defect caused both the iPhone 5 and 5s to switch from streaming data via Wi-Fi to LTE.

Tag: iPhone 5
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AT&T to Raise Price of Grandfathered Unlimited Plans From $30 to $35

AT&T will raise the price of its grandfathered unlimited data plans from $30 to $35 in February of 2016, reports CNBC. The upcoming rate change is detailed on a page on AT&T’s website and is the first price hike the unlimited plan has seen in seven years.

Though AT&T no longer offers unlimited data plans to customers, a small number of customers continue to hold unlimited data plans that were purchased before AT&T discontinued them in 2010. AT&T’s current $30 unlimited data plan allows customers to use an unlimited amount of data, but AT&T does throttle with excessive data usage.

As of February 16, the $30 price tag, which is in addition to voice costs, will rise to $35. The price hike comes just a couple of months after AT&T announced changes to its throttling practices. AT&T previously throttled customers on congested networks after 5GB of LTE data usage, but that cap was increased to 22GB in September, making unlimited plans more valuable.

AT&T plans to notify customers who will be impacted by the price increase. Customers who wish to cancel their wireless service because of the pricing increase will have early termination fees waived for affected lines. Price changes will take effect during each customer’s February billing period.

Tag: AT&T
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