Netflix Proves People Don't Notice Mobile Video Slowdowns, T-Mobile CEO Argues

The recent revelation that Netflix has been slowing down video streams on AT&T and Verizon for five years proves that smartphone users don't require high-resolution streams, T-Mobile CEO John Legere says today in a new video message.

"I've been saying all along that high-def on a small device is a waste of data," Legere says. My point on resolution has been effectively made here. No customers at AT&T or Verizon noticed for five full years."

Legere's interpretation of the news comes near the end of a five-minute video promoting T-Mobile. He also announced in the video that Binge On -- a controversial "zero-rating" service that lets consumers stream unlimited video from certain companies -- has added new partners to its roster.

The new companies participating in Binge On include Nickelodeon, Dailymotion, EPIX, Spike and TV Land. They join a roster that includes HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, Amazon and YouTube.



Net neutrality advocates have criticized Binge On, arguing that it harms competition as well as free expression online.

T-Mobile has always said that any video providers can join Binge On for free, if they meet the company's technical requirements.

But the service has proven controversial for several reasons, including that it automatically throttles video streams offered by all companies -- not just the participants -- to 1.5 Mbps. High-definition video typically requires faster connections.

Legere has repeatedly said that smartphone users won't notice any degradation of video on Binge On. The company also points out that customers can turn the service on or off at will. In other words, if people needs to access high-definition video, they can temporarily turn off Binge On.

The Federal Communications Commission recently questioned T-Mobile about Binge On, but has not publicly criticized the program.

2 comments about "Netflix Proves People Don't Notice Mobile Video Slowdowns, T-Mobile CEO Argues".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, April 5, 2016 at 4:42 p.m.

    BingeOn is Moths to a Flame for contenet providers except Netflix....

  2. Chuck Lantz from, network, April 5, 2016 at 8:18 p.m.

    My question for John Legere is:  How does one go about discovering that users "don't notice" the absence of high-res?  Is it through a lack of complaints?  Was testing done through discussion groups?  Side-by-side comparisons?  Wild guesses? 

    Since my main gig involves photography, the differences between high and low-resolution and whether those differences ...hmmm...make a difference to the viewer is important to me. What I've found is that most people will simply accept what is visually offered to them, unless they are offered a side-by-side choice, unless they are what we refer to as "pixel peepers", who are those trained to see the difference.

    My point is that Legere and others can either continue to allow image degradation until people do eventually complain, or they can keep the bar high, and raise it even higher, simply because progess is the right thing to do. Conversely, lowering the bar because you don't think people notice is called "hucksterism." 

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