T-Mobile’s Latest Zero-Rating Plan Could Have Negative Competitive Implications

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Today, T-Mobile announced a plan to exempt certain services from metering on its wireless plans. This follows its similar program for music services.

The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:

"T-Mobile should consider ways to offer customers more value in ways that do not have the competitive implications of its zero-rating efforts to date, including today’s “Binge On” announcement. For example, it could put the choice of which services to zero-rate in customers' hands, not its own, or explore ways to allow customers to freely stream lower-quality media regardless of its source. Under its current model, customers might choose to use a service simply because it doesn't count towards their data plans, rather on its merits.

"Turning the mobile Internet into a carrier-controlled walled garden is ultimately a bad idea for consumers, for all online services (even those included in T-Mobile’s zero-rating today), and for the wireless industry as a whole.  In the name of competing with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, T-Mobile should not not take steps that could have such troubling competitive implications."

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