T-Mobile US Inc. executives fired shots at critics who say the carrier may be violating net-neutrality rules with its free video-streaming program and said they are “baffled” by YouTube’s objection to the program.
T-Mobile recently began offering a service that delivers video at lower quality in exchange for waiving related data fees. YouTube and its allies have criticized the carrier for lowering the quality of video that isn’t part of the program. The spat comes as federal regulators examine the wireless carrier’s streaming-video strategy.
At a Citigroup investor conference Wednesday, T-Mobile executives shot back, saying YouTube’s stance is “absurd.” YouTube is owned by Alphabet Inc. “We are kind of dumbfounded, that a company like YouTube would think that adding this choice would somehow be a bad thing,” said T-Mobile Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert. He said YouTube hasn’t “done the work yet to become part of the free service.”
YouTube didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the executives’ statements. Binge On, T-Mobile’s free streaming program, has worried some consumer advocates, who warn the service could be the beginning of attempts to circumvent the net-neutrality rules, which generally require that all Internet data be treated equally. T-Mobile argues the program is in line with the regulations, keeps consumers in control because it can be turned off, and is open to all video providers that meet its basic technical requirements.
Written by Thomas Gryta of MarketWatch