T-Mobile throttles all video, misleads customers -- again

T-Mobile throttles -- or reduces the quality of -- YouTube’s video service, according to YouTube. The Wall Street Journal reported that Binge On, T-Mobile’s new zero-rating plan that “delivers video service at a lower quality in exchange for waiving related data fees,” interferes with all YouTube traffic, regardless of user consent.


This accusation is damning enough, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) uncovered a broader practice: T-Mobile throttles all streaming video, and lies to customers about its program.


The EFF tested T-Mobile’s Binge On service and found that the provider throttles all video service, whether Binge On is enabled or not. In addition, the EFF found that T-Mobile’s claim to “optimize” video for customers is a lie -- “T-Mobile’s video ‘optimization’ doesn’t actually alter or enhance the video stream for delivery to a mobile device over a mobile network in any way.”


The EFF makes a clear recommendation: “The FCC should investigate.”


This is the latest finding in a long line of corporate misbehavior. In March of last year, a judge at the National Labor Relations Board found T-Mobile guilty of nationwide labor law violations, prompting a letter from 20 lawmakers to the CEO of T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom. Then, in June, the federal government ruled that T-Mobile must refund $90 million to customers for illegal “cramming,” or charging customers for services they didn’t agree to. In December, a coalition of civil rights, consumer, and labor organizations called out T-Mobile’s misleading advertisements and abusive debt collection practices, filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

YouTube Says T-Mobile Is Throttling Its Video Traffic (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 22, 2015)

 

EFF Confirms: T-Mobile’s Binge On Optimization is Just Throttling, Applies Indiscriminately to All Video (Jan. 4, 2015)