T-Mobile targets rival US carriers with 'Wireless Customer Bill of Rights'

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in iPhone
T-Mobile on Monday announced a new marketing tactic, the "Wireless Customer Bill of Rights," which it plans to wield against its main rivals in the U.S. carrier market.




The document pushes policies that are already in place at T-Mobile, including free international data roaming and a moratorium on overage fees. The carrier is asking people to share the document with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint via Twitter, or even print it out and take it to one of those companies' retail outlets.

A more elaborate Twitter-based campaign asks people to use the hashtag "#TweetJohn" to receive an emoji of T-Mobile CEO John Legere. If the emoji is used over 500,000 times by March 31, the carrier says it will use magenta chalk to write every post outside of high-traffic AT&T and Verizon stores around the U.S.

The promotion is intended to mark the third anniversary of T-Mobile's "Un-carrier" strategy. This positions the carrier as a "rebel" in the American cellular industry, and indeed some policies have actually forced its competitors to adapt, for example by all but eliminating once-standard two-year contracts.

The company has encountered flak, however, for some of its tactics. One of these is "Binge On," a perk -- enabled by default -- which lets subscribers stream video from participating services without it affecting their data caps. That video is degraded to 480p though, and at one point it was discovered that the company is throttling all video, regardless of whether the source is a partner company.

T-Mobile is working to fix that situation, but could still have to face concerns that Binge On violates the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules. These state that Internet service providers can't degrade traffic on the basis of content, app, or service.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    BingeOn isn't likely to face anything.. because it's completely in users hands if they want it enabled. I turn it off and back on regularly .. easy with their app.

    Net Neutrality was mainly focused on lack of consumers choice when ISP providers created a high and low speed lane charing service providers (Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, etc) for a fast lane privilege. This fee would have to have been push onto consumer and they would have no choice in the matter.

    Since T-Mo isn't charging providers for a fast lane (Netflix, YouTube, etc) or preventing people from opting out.. it's a non-issue.
    edited March 2016 brettschultecornchip
  • Reply 2 of 12
    schlackschlack Posts: 693member
    adrayven said:
    BingeOn isn't likely to face anything.. because it's completely in users hands if they want it enabled. I turn it off and back on regularly .. easy with their app.
    But they are giving preferential treatment to traffic from some companies and not others. I would think this is violating neutrality.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    schlack said:
    But they are giving preferential treatment to traffic from some companies and not others. I would think this is violating neutrality.
    As far as I know they aren't giving any preferential treatment. Nothing is blocked or throttled. I can get any video on my T-Mobile phone from any service. It all comes through at the same speed, but things using BingeOn are reduced in quality or the lower quality stream is chosen to save bandwidth. (I haven't noticed any difference on my phone screen, your mileage may vary if you stream or plug in to a TV.) Some count against my GB limit and some don't depending on if they participate in BingeOn or not. And if I want to be charged for all the video I watch, then I can turn off the BingeOn feature.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 4 of 12
    tshapitshapi Posts: 292member
    The issue is... T-Mobile is throttling all
    video to 480p claiming that they are "optimizing" the video, but still counting this video against your data plan. Because those companies didn't allow t-mo to "optimize there video. But t-mo is doing it anyways.  Case in point is YouTube where google griped about being throttled. They didn't allow t-mo to include YouTube in there binge on service but they "optimized" the video anyways. This is why they are in conflict.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    T-Mobile is not throttling anything. It's selecting a particular size video stream based on the option selected in your billing preferences. It selects the smaller size and does not charge that against your data plan.Your bandwidth remains the same and is only throttled when you reach your cap. You can turn off BingeOn and receive full glorious 720 or whatever the service you are watching offers, but you will see that show up on your dataplan usage. (In actuality, most services will adjust based on your connection and select the best stream for your connection, so you won't get that glorious 720 or whatever unless you force it in the service's settings and want a choppy stream or a long buffer time or have a very good connection. T-Mobile is simply preselecting what the services themselves already offer, and then only if you have BingeOn activated.)

    It's very similar to T-Mobile's free music streaming; I rarely see any charges on that because I mainly listen to Pandora, Apple Music, and some other services included. My podcasts show up on my bandwidth usage, however. T-Mobile's BingeOn and Music services allows me to use less than 1GB of my bandwidth a month on a 2GB plan. That's a lot play room left over just in case, I don't know, the World Cup is on and Univision isn't included in BingeOn. :)

    The YouTube thing was an error and T-Mobile fixed it, and YouTube is now on the BingeOn service, anyway, so that point is moot.

    I think some people misunderstand what "throttling" means.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 6 of 12
    I just had a trip in HK and China. The data roaming is a nice feature. I had 3g connection in HK, which was good enough all things considered, but I had only 2g connection in China, which was useless :-(. 
    dementuschikancornchip
  • Reply 7 of 12
    schlack said:
    adrayven said:
    BingeOn isn't likely to face anything.. because it's completely in users hands if they want it enabled. I turn it off and back on regularly .. easy with their app.
    But they are giving preferential treatment to traffic from some companies and not others. I would think this is violating neutrality.
    Not preferential because it's open to all. 
  • Reply 8 of 12
    T-Mobile is not throttling anything. It's selecting a particular size video stream based on the option selected in your billing preferences. It selects the smaller size and does not charge that against your data plan.Your bandwidth remains the same and is only throttled when you reach your cap. You can turn off BingeOn and receive full glorious 720 or whatever the service you are watching offers, but you will see that show up on your dataplan usage. (In actuality, most services will adjust based on your connection and select the best stream for your connection, so you won't get that glorious 720 or whatever unless you force it in the service's settings and want a choppy stream or a long buffer time or have a very good connection. T-Mobile is simply preselecting what the services themselves already offer, and then only if you have BingeOn activated.)

    It's very similar to T-Mobile's free music streaming; I rarely see any charges on that because I mainly listen to Pandora, Apple Music, and some other services included. My podcasts show up on my bandwidth usage, however. T-Mobile's BingeOn and Music services allows me to use less than 1GB of my bandwidth a month on a 2GB plan. That's a lot play room left over just in case, I don't know, the World Cup is on and Univision isn't included in BingeOn. :)

    The YouTube thing was an error and T-Mobile fixed it, and YouTube is now on the BingeOn service, anyway, so that point is moot.

    I think some people misunderstand what "throttling" means.
    Incorrect. ALL video is THROTTLED to 1.5Mbps. Participating services create streams to fit in under that limit and they're automatically selected, all others are forced down to whatever quality they have available under 1.5Mbps. You can even download a video and it will be throttled to 1.5Mbps.

    This is no secret and it has been confirmed by several sources.

    For example...
    http://www.tmonews.com/2016/01/binge-on-criticisms-continue-with-eff-report-that-say-t-mobiles-service-is-just-throttling/
  • Reply 9 of 12
    How about having some decent LTE coverage in Upstate NY, T-Mo, before talking about Bills of Rights? If you can't even match ATT's coverage, then what rights matter?
  • Reply 10 of 12
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,614member
     "it will use magenta chalk to write every post outside of high-traffic AT&T and Verizon stores around the U.S."

    What does this mean?
  • Reply 11 of 12
    ktappektappe Posts: 763member
    T-Mobile is doing a great job of giving AT&T and Verizon some serious competition. And let's not forget, this could not have happened had the FTC not blocked the merger of T-Mobile and AT&T. This is why mergers are bad for the country and consumers and why we need antitrust.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    eabyss said:
    Incorrect. ALL video is THROTTLED to 1.5Mbps. Participating services create streams to fit in under that limit and they're automatically selected, all others are forced down to whatever quality they have available under 1.5Mbps. You can even download a video and it will be throttled to 1.5Mbps.

    This is no secret and it has been confirmed by several sources.

    For example...
    http://www.tmonews.com/2016/01/binge-on-criticisms-continue-with-eff-report-that-say-t-mobiles-service-is-just-throttling/
    Thank you for the article link. While I'll still take issue with the "ALL video is THROTTLED" statement and will have to research that further, I can concede that the service is not as picky as it should be. I'm curious whether any changes have occurred since that article that would not make videos stutter when a 1.5Mbps stream is not available. That article was written before Youtube joined into the BingeOn service, for example, so I will research to see what other changes might have gone into making the BingeOn service smarter. 

    On the whole, though, I still think the service is a good idea, especially for those with lower bandwidth caps. I can't afford the higher caps, so T-Mobile's BIngeOn and MusicFreedom services are a big thing to me. Now that YouTube has joined BingeOn, I might be able to check that tutorial video before I get to a WiFi connection. 
    edited March 2016
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