You may have heard about “Binge On”—a way for T-Mobile subscribers with 3 gigabyte data caps to watching online video without worrying about blowing past their data limit and being hit with sizable overage charges. Sounds awesome, huh? Perhaps for some, but the program has nevertheless been criticized due to the fact that certain apps were binge-able and others were not. As we previously pointed out with another T-Mobile program, “Music Freedom,” this establishes a troubling precedent for consumers who want to be able to use their preferred apps to access legitimate, licensed content without being penalized for doing so. Such plans, while consumer-friendly on the surface, also impact developers who may find their products and services in the penalty box for no discernable reason.
Even more troubling are reports that T-Mobile is not only excluding certain video services—they’re also throttling non-Binge On video across the board, even for subscribers with unlimited data plans. So if you’re a T-Mobile customer who wants to check out a band’s Pledge Music video to decide whether you want to plunk down to support their upcoming record, you might end up watching a spinning wheel instead. If you’re hoping to take in an exclusive live concert from your favorite singer-songwriter on your tablet while on the bus, you probably won’t have much luck.
On September 15, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted the following reply comments in the FCC’s public docket on Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet. Our comments are in direct response to those filed by telecommunications and cable companies in the initial phase of this proceeding.
Post by Policy Intern Juan Carlos Melendez-Torres and Casey Rae
T-Mobile markets itself as a great liberator within the mobile phone industry through its “UnCarrier” initiatives. But is the company really all that different from other powerful carriers and Internet Service Providers?
On June 18, T-Mobile announced UnCarrier 6.0, which includes new “partnerships” with streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, iHeartRadio, Slacker, Rhapsody and Milk Music. Under the UnCarrier 6.0 provisions, T-Mobile will not count music streamed on the aforementioned services against their subscribers’ data caps. Using any other online music service—say, Bandcamp or Noisetrade—will result in slowed speeds and potentially, overages.
Washington, D.C.— The following statement can be attributed to Casey Rae-Hunter, Deputy Director of Future of Music Coalition.
“Since AT&T first announced its intent to acquire T-Mobile, Future of Music Coalition has steadily raised concerns about what the mega-merger would mean for the creative community — particularly musicians who increasingly rely on affordable access to mobile broadband platforms to reach audiences and advance their careers. read more
Thanksgiving was an interesting day for those who follow telecommunications hoo-hah. While most Americans were enjoying turkey, stuffing and football, AT&Trequested to withdraw their merger application with T-Mobile from consideration at the Federal Communications Commission. AT&T and Deutsche Telecom (T-Mobile’s parent company) instead announced plans to concentrate on Department of Justice antitrust proceedings that will go to trial in February 2012. read more
Washington, D.C.— Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its intent to seek administrative hearing on the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile — an important step towards rejecting a move that would bring unprecedented concentration in the mobile marketplace.
AT&T previously sought government approval to acquire T-Mobile, which, were it approved, would see a single company control nearly half of the wireless market in the United States. Future of Music Coalition (FMC) joins a diverse array of artists, organizations and individuals in supporting the DOJ’s decision to block the merger.
The following can be attributed to Casey Rae-Hunter, Deputy Director of Future of Music Coalition: read more
Washington, D.C.— Today, the Attorneys General of seven U.S. states joined a Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust suit aimed at preventing the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.
AT&T previously sought government approval to acquire T-Mobile, which, had it been approved, would have seen a single company control nearly half of the wireless market in the United States. Future of Music Coalition (FMC) joins a diverse array of artists, organizations and individuals in supporting the DOJ’s decision to block the merger, and applauds the Attorneys General of New York, Washington, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania in signing on to the DOJ suit. read more
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the stronger congressional critics of the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger, lauded the Justice Department’s move Wednesday to block it, just one of many voices that were weighing in on the announced antitrust suit.
“The Justice Department’s decision to take action to block AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile is a victory for competition, consumers and choice. We should be protecting American consumers holding their cell phones, not just telecommunications titans holding stock in the companies,” he said in a statement. “The merger would reduce the number of national wireless companies from four down to three, sending the mobile marketplace into a telecommunications time machine back to 1993. That would be an historic mistake….” read more
Washington, D.C.— Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intention to file suit to prevent the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. The following statement can be attributed to Future of Music Coalition Deputy Director Casey Rae-Hunter.
“Future of Music Coalition applauds the Department of Justice for moving to block the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. We hope the FCC swiftly follows suit to preserve access and innovation in mobile communications. From competition in a crucial marketplace to jobs preservation, preventing this merger is the right thing to do. Creators and consumers alike should welcome today’s news, and we thank those in the music community for helping to illustrate what is at stake for artists and other creative entrepreneurs.” read more
Washington is known for encouraging and celebrating innovation. From the music scene that’s become a beacon to America and the world, to the state’s thriving technology sector, innovation is the driving force behind Washington’s economy and its music culture.