Google Teams up with T-Mobile
T-Mobile wants you to “Binge On”. The unique program allows T-Mobile users to watch streaming apps such as Netflix and HBO GO without those “binges” counting toward their data plan.
Considering allowing their customers to accidentally stream too much video and rack up data is an easy way for wireless companies to make extra cash, for T-Mobile to make this move speaks to an interesting customer-centered shift in wireless marketing.
Google noticed. The internet and tech giant just agreed to add YouTube and Google Play movies to the Binge On program. That opens up a massive trove of digital video content for users to stream without having to worry about data overages and massive extra fees.
Google didn’t just jump in the boat, though. They required T-Mobile to better explain to customers how their service works and refused to give up control of their content, how it is shared and how it can be viewed.
However, along with those qualifications, Google offered T-Mobile a ringing endorsement: “We think these changes can help ensure the program works well for all users and the entire video ecosystem.”
This endorsement is a quick turnaround from what, to date, has been a rocky rollout of the program. Almost immediately after it was offered, T-Mobile was accused by several people of “throttling” or slowing down media content for people paying less. T-Mobile denied these allegations, but that didn’t stop lots of folks from believing the negative commentaries.
But now that one of Google’s conditions would be for T-Mobile to reassure worried consumers, the throttling allegation is dying away. Users may not trust the phone company, but they are willing to believe Google set them straight. This turn of events — and, more importantly, public opinion — is a potential goldmine for T-Mobile. Now, their competition will either have to come up with their own version of Binge On or risk losing customers in droves.
Sure, Verizon and AT&T still win on service, but the pink carrier is making a move on that score as well. If T-Mobile can increase their coverage and their network while also offering customers essentially free streaming video, they will have a value proposition many customers will be powerless to ignore.
Jonah Engler is an entrepreneur from NYC.