Netflix has confirmed that for more than five years now, it has quietly throttled video streams at 600 kilobits-per-second for most wireless carriers around the world including AT&T and Verizon.
The issue arose last week after T-Mobile CEO John Legere called out AT&T and Verizon for throttling its customers’ Netflix streams. As it turns out, he was half right – the streams were being throttled – but Netflix was responsible for the move, not the carriers.
In a recent post on its official blog, Netflix says they’ve been throttling to protect its members from overage charges when they exceed mobile data caps. Most would likely agree that it’s a noble move on Netflix’s part to look out for its customers but throttling most mobile users in secrecy certainly isn’t the correct way to go about it.
Curiously enough, Netflix told The Wall Street Journal that it doesn’t limit video streamed to Sprint and T-Mobile customers as historically, those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies. When customers of those services exceed their monthly data allowance, their data speed is throttled versus charging them money for overages.
Looking ahead, Netflix said it is actively developing a “data saver” feature for mobile apps that will grant customers more control over their data usage. Specifically, the data saver will allow users to either stream more video by lowering the stream rate or opt for higher quality video streams that consume more mobile data.
Netflix expects to deploy its data saver feature sometime in May.