T-Mobile claims it isn't throttling but 'downgrading' YouTube streams

By Scorpus
Dec 31, 2015
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  1. T-Mobile's Binge On initiative has been criticised over the past couple of weeks after users discovered the mobile network was throttling YouTube video streams, despite YouTube not participating in the data limit free program.

    While YouTube has publicly slammed T-Mobile for throttling its video service "without explicit user consent", T-Mobile themselves believe the term 'throttling' is a "misleading" way to describe the situation. According to them, the way Binge On limits video streams to 480p regardless of whether sites participate in the program technically isn't throttling.

    A spokesperson for the company has stated that they "aren't slowing down YouTube or any other site." Instead, as the video streams are "optimized for mobile devices", T-Mobile believes they should be "just as fast, if not faster than before". Rather than throttling, the network believes "a better phrase is “mobile optimized” or a less flattering “downgraded” is also accurate."

    In practice, YouTube streams on T-Mobile's network are not "faster than before". In fact it's quite the opposite, with many users reporting their YouTube streams are buffering over T-Mobile's LTE network despite clearly having enough bandwidth to a cell tower. As YouTube streams still count to a user's data limit, people are rightly annoyed that their videos are being throttled.

    And despite what T-Mobile believes, "throttling" is a perfectly acceptable term to describe this behavior, as the network is reducing and/or limiting the speed of transmissions between a user's device and YouTube's servers. If T-Mobile weren't throttling connections to YouTube, there wouldn't be widespread complaints about buffering on ultra-fast LTE connections.

    Through the company's Binge On program, users get data limit free video streaming in exchange for throttled connections to video streaming websites. However, while only a handful of websites participate in the data limit free program, such as Netflix and HBO Go, T-Mobile is throttling connections to a much larger collection of streaming services, which doesn't seem at all fair.

    The only way to avoid having your YouTube streams throttled is to disable Binge On from within your T-Mobile account settings. This will cause all video sites to run without limits, although streaming any video will count to your data cap.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    Throttling or "downgrading" they are slowing down the video purposely, different words meaning the same thing.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    I have no issues at all with this. Any free service will have restrictions. This example is no different than any other.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    No, T-H-R-O-T-T-L-I-N-G is not the same as D-O-W-N G-R-A-D-I-N-G.
    They're spelled different, (See above). :p You obviously don't understand "CEO speak".

    What all this boils down to is, "the remediation of customer situations" where "acute video watching overdose", is taking place, in a wanton and flagrant manner. Big Brother is watching, and he has your best interests at heart!

    Stay tuned kidz as cranky adapts an old adage to the new issue at hand (*); "be careful what you wish for,. you might just be bending over when you get it.".......Ouch, my ***...:eek:

    (*) Wallowing in the fantasy you're entitled to free, unlimited, video streaming.

    CODA: As CEO's go, this "kid" looks better suited to a stint on QVC, trying to wrap crap in tinfoil and ribbons, then sell it as "the next big thing". Or possibly begging for money on some obscure "Christian network".

    Oddly though, I think Apple is to blame for all this unhappiness in the rank & file of cell phone addicts.
    I guess I'm old and uneducated in the tech "needs" of people much younger than myself but, I can come home and amuse myself into ecstasy with a paltry 1080 X 1920, on a 46" TV. Now, how has Apple managed to convince you that 300ppi is the minimum, nay verily obligatory resolution for anything you do on a cell phone? Everybody seems to have picked up that concept, and developed it into one of life's basic rights and necessities.Why I bet some die hard Apple-ciles have "Retina Display Forever", tattooed on them, right next to their ex-wife's name. (Which to me would be appropriate to have all your mistakes lumped together and visible for the rest of the world to see.

    So, given that YouTube has 1080p available on it, it follows logically that you have the sovereign and inalienable right to stream as much of it as you feel you're entitled to. Whether it's on some annoying commuter train, or behind the wheel of your car, or possibly when walking out in front of the moving bus you meant to get on to go home.

    So why do we need 1080p on a 5" phone? Well because a phone is the best possible venue to watch a stadium concert, or to attune yourself to the nuances of a pro football game, which is played on a field 120 yards long. Because after all, isn't say 12 square inches of plastic, more than plenty to capture the grandeur & spectacle of events such as those?
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016

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