Accusations from T-Mobile CEO John Legere that its major rivals were throttling Netflix streams have been answered, by Netflix itself. The streaming video service admitted that videos viewed by AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers were capped, but Netflix is the company behind the decision to limit video bandwidth per customer, rather than the carriers accused by Legere, and it has throttled connection speeds to the majority of carriers around the world for the last five years.
Last week, Legere promoted
the addition of YouTube to T-Mobile's Binge On
program on Twitter, taking the opportunity to attack his rivals at the same time. While T-Mobile offers Netflix streams at 480p, Legere claimed customers on AT&T and Verizon were only capable of streaming Netflix at 360p.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal
, a Netflix representative explained the company capped speeds for many carriers at 600Kbps to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps," something which could force users to avoid using the service while away from home. A two-hour HD video stream from Netflix uses approximately 6GB of data, something that could consume an entire monthly data allowance on some plans.
While it does limit speeds on AT&T and Verizon, it doesn't do the same to T-Mobile and Sprint, as "historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies" that slow down connections instead of charging overusage fees. Netflix is still looking for ways around the need to throttle with some carriers, and is intending to roll out a "data saver" in May that will let users "stream more video under a smaller data plan, or increase their video quality if they have a higher data plan."
In response to Netflix's throttling admission, AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs Jim Cicconi said "We're outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent." Verizon noted it "delivers video content at the resolution provided by the host service, whether that's Netflix or any other provider."
Netflix may receive more criticism in the future for its actions, considering its previous public stance on connectivity and Net Neutrality. The service has openly complained about interconnectivity deals
it is forced to sign with telecommunications providers in order to give customers the best streams, and at one point even picked a fight with Verizon
for promoting network congestion, albeit against the company's fiber Internet service and not the carrier.