Networks

T-Mobile US boss John Legere calls bulls*** on video throttling claims

Unfortunately, pink-tracksuit-wearing potty mouth also wrong

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has called BS – literally – on claims that his company's video service is throttling streaming speeds and hence quality.

In a video set in what looks like his basement and sporting a pink-streaked tracksuit, Legere said in response to criticism from YouTube: "There are people out there saying we're throttling. That's a game of semantics and it's bullshit. That's not what we're doing."

Amazingly, he then goes on to use semantics to try to hide the fact that the company is in fact doing exactly what the critics have said it is – namely, limiting the quality and speed of video streams.

Legere describes how the T-Mobile US system is "designed to stretch your mobile data" by offering "the same quality as DVD but only use as much as one third of your data." According to him, "that's not 'throttling,' that's a huge benefit."

Except of course that is precisely what throttling is. And what YouTube is annoyed about is the fact that even though it is not a signed-up member of T-Mobile BingeOn service, its videos are also throttled down to 480p, when many smartphones can handle 1080p resolution.

Or, in other words, customers are prevented from getting the best quality they can on their devices over T-Mobile US's network so that it can save on data costs.

I don't get it

Despite this being a crystal clear complaint – and one that YouTube appears to have taken to the FCC to see whether it violates new net neutrality rules – Legere claims not to understand what these "special interest groups" are complaining about and hypothesizes, somewhat unpersuasively, that they are simply using the issue "to get into the news."

These new junkies are "confusing our customers so there's no way I could stay quiet on this one," he argues – implying that there has been an occasion in the past when Legere has stayed quiet.

And then for good measure, he gets all belligerent: "We give customers more choices and these jerks are complaining. Who the hell do you think they are?"

Well, they are companies that provide higher-quality video streams that T-Mob actively prevents its users from accessing because of its own bottom line.

In terms of the impact of the service, Legere says the new service has resulted in a 12 per cent increase in the amount of video its customers watch – which is not as high as you might imagine. Which presumably is why he throws in an unusually specific stat immediately afterwards. "We've already seen daily average viewership on one of our top services spike 66 per cent among customers not on high-speed, unlimited plans" – which could mean anything.

If you wish to view John "setting the record straight," the video is three-and-a-half minutes of pure Legere. ®

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