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

04 Jan, 2016

T-Mobile throttles -- or reduces the quality of -- YouTube’s video service, according to YouTube. TheWall 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-Mobileguilty of nationwide labor law violations, prompting aletter 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 acomplaint 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)


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