T-Mobile is no longer counting video streams against customer data plans

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Image: Reuters/Steve Marcus
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This post has been corrected.

It’s true. T-Mobile is officially exempting streaming-video services like Netflix and HBO from consumer-data caps.

All T-Mobile customers with at least 3GB of data per month will be able to stream unlimited videos without cutting into their plans if they watch them at lower bandwidth, beginning on Nov. 15 for new customers and Nov. 19 for existing customers, the carrier announced today (Nov. 10).

The company is also doubling its data buckets, so 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB tiers will soon become 2GB, 6GB and 10GB plans, respectively.

The new video initiative, called “Binge On,” will work with 24 streaming services, including Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, and Sling TV, to start. Additional services that meet the program’s technical criteria will be added down the line. At the get-go, T-Mobile customers will even be able to stream competitor Verizon’s new video platform, Go90, for free, T-Mobile said. 

Content providers are not paying to be part of the program, the company said.

Videos will stream at a bandwidth of 480p, and customers will be able to disable the service at any time to access higher-quality videos.

While “Binge On” may be a win for customers, it could also limit a major revenue stream for the “un-carrier.” Customers consume increasingly more mobile video content, but with “Binge On,” they won’t need to increase their data plans in step with usage or risk paying overage fees.

However, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said he expects the approach will please investors as well.

“This is actually incredibly good for investors,” said Legere at a press event. “The profitability impact to us is gigantic in a positive sense, not only from a customer standpoint but from an efficiency utilization of our network.” 

So far, shareholders don’t seem convinced. The company’s stock dipped today with shares closing at $37.03, a 4% drop from Monday.

Legere said he plans to hold additional meetings to discuss the strategy with shareholders.

Correction (Nov. 11 at 3:30 pm EST): An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that all new and existing T-Mobile customers with at least 3GB of data per month would be eligible for “Binge On” beginning on Nov. 15. Existing customers aren’t eligible until Nov. 19.