Well, at least the T-Mobile announcement wasn’t called Movie Freedom. Instead, the company opted for Binge On. I wonder how many months the term ‘binge’ has left before we turn against it?
Watch all the video you want from select providers and it doesn’t count against your cap. Hmm, sounds like a deal for consumers. But first, a word from Comcast.
Ah, lovable Comcast. Me? I’ve hated on them in the past, but somehow the past year has been filled with excellent customer service. Not sure what happened, but whoever routes customer calls from Alabama has been on top of it.
I do hate the 300GB data cap, though. Tough luck Comcast PR, it’s a data cap.
Comcast is under fire today for its Stream TV service. Like T-Mobile, watch all you video you want from select providers and not count against your data cap.
Operative words in both? Each has select providers.
Net Neutrality Circumvented?
T-Mobile has already received the all clear from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
“It’s clear in the Open Internet Order that we said we are pro-competition and pro-innovation,” Wheeler told reporters just yesterday when asked about T-Mobile’s Binge On program, according to Ars Technica. “Clearly this meets both of those criteria. It’s highly innovative and highly competitive.”
In T-Mobile’s case, it is difficult to argue that point. When has the company not gone out of its way to piss off its competitors? It loves to poke AT&T and Verizon. Both have looked at the plan and shrugged for now.
The issue with critics is that T-Mobile offers its service and 23 other providers. Those left out in the cold? They can negotiate to get on the whitelist. Anyone notice the majority of those providers come with their own monthly cost?[divider]Comcast[/divider]
Stream TV is the company’s way of not getting the hate and discontent from customers who get hit with data cap overages. I raise my hand as being one of those with monthly overages. Every. Damn. Month.
It’s actually an idiotic way of watching TV. It works only on your home network. $15 per month gets you access to HBO, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision.
Oh, and you have to have an Internet subscription. Hello, $40-$100 per month. Your cord cutting plans? Yeah, there’s still a damn cord popping out of your floor.[divider]Net Neutrality Pushback[/divider]
Critics of both have seized on both plans saying it will stifle innovation. Startups will wither away, or the next Netflix won’t be invented. Really? That’s a bit overblown. Google is just waiting in the wings with its ISP program.
The idea behind net neutrality is to keep the Internet open and free. It’s open, but it was never free. Legislate too much and you have enough red tape to make the IRS blush. Too little? You’ll get the tier system.
It’s a happy middle that won’t be found overnight. Everyone will have their opinion and lobbying groups. But don’t confuse old school marketing with something sinister.
For Comcast? Stream TV is their version of ‘me too.’ Hey, we need a streaming service, do something fast. In reality, it’s a way of making more money from customers who think they are saving money by cord cutting. The cord is still there, and they snap up customers who need Game of Thrones and some live sports.
Everyone will still be chewing through data caps the second they decide to watch a Netflix original in 4K. Then in rides Comcast with the ‘deal’ of paying $50 extra a month for unlimited data.
T-Mobile? Remember the old days of screaming at friends to call after 7 pm so you wouldn’t chew through your minutes? Now everything is based on data allowances.
T-Mobile offers an unlimited plan, but it’s a tough one to find and gets throttled. Grandfathered plans on other carriers also earn the throttle treatment.
What the Un-Carrier marketing ploy represents is a slow move back towards unlimited data. T-Mobile has to poach customers in the United States. You aren’t seeing new wireless customers come onboard anymore. The game is about getting people to switch.
The old way was paying off your phone and a gift card. Apple gave that the kiss of death with their trade-in program. Samsung will happily follow suit. What does that leave? Ever increasing data allowances.
It’s easy to see both plans as a way to circumvent the rules. And they very well may be. But, if Comcast wanted to do it, there are better ways than offering basic cable with an overpriced Internet connection package. That can only be used in your house.
T-Mobile? If they aren’t poking at AT&T and Verizon, the Earth just cracked in half.
Give the plans time to implement and then pass judgement. None of this will happen overnight. Ask Microsoft. AT&T. The list goes on. It may not move at the speed we all expect today, but reacting to what are essentially marketing ploys does the net neutrality movement zero favors.