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Technical Issue Keeping YouTube Out of T-Mobile's Binge On

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Nov 13, 2015, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile introduced Binge On earlier this week, a program that lets customers stream unlimited video over T-Mobile's LTE network without impacting their data plans. The service works with 24 different video providers, with one major exception: YouTube. Google's YouTube accounts for one out of every five bits traveling through wireless networks. T-Mobile, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said Binge On doesn't support YouTube for technical reasons. T-Mobile's proprietary software for detecting and downgrading video to 480p needs to be able to detect that it is receiving actual video content, rather than audio or static image content. The majority of YouTube traffic uses https, which T-Mobile is able to identify. However, some YouTube content relies on the UDP protocol, and T-Mobile's software can't always detect it accurately. Without the ability to determine the exact nature of the content, T-Mobile may unintentionally charge customers against their data plans. "YouTube is a little difficult," said Grant Castle, vice president of engineering at T-Mobile. Castle said T-Mobile and YouTube have held preliminary talks, but more work is required to suss out a solution. Binge On will be available to new T-Mobile customers starting Nov. 15, and all customers Nov. 19.


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