marc bombenon surecall

Tag: at&t

Netflix Confirms It Has Been Throttling Video Quality

marc bombenon phone streaming

We live in a society where media and entertainment are constantly being consumed. It’s an arms race to be the phone and/or internet provider that wins over the largest portion of the general public. The most recent frenzy revolves around Netflix, the media streaming giant that is dominating the streaming market.

The CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, recently made an implication that his company’s rivals, Verizon and AT&T were secretly and purposefully lowering the video quality of the Netflix app. His direct quote was,

 “Did you know that when you watch Netflix on T-Mobile you get it at 480p, and the duopoly actually delivers it at 360p? I bet you didn’t know that. Go check. It’s true.”

Claims of this nature are not taken lightly, and both Verizon and AT&T were up in arms about the accusation. They did not have to fight for their honor for long, as Netflix stepped forward and admitted that they were the ones doing the “throttling” of the video quality.

This came as a shock to many, as Netflix has been at the forefront of the “open Internet” movement. They admitted that they have been limiting the video speeds to most of the major wireless carriers; but it was with good intentions. Netflix says they were reducing video quality to protect the consumer. Almost all major wireless carriers have mobile data caps, and Netflix wanted to help their consumers avoid hitting that cap, as that would likely discourage users from streaming in the future.

Netflix has come forward to say that they don’t reduce video quality for Sprint and T-Mobile (so John Legere was not wrong), “because “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies.” When clients of Verizon or AT&T go over their data limit, the carriers charge overage fees, while T-Mobile and Sprint reportedly just slow down connections.

This is a very interesting situation as it brings to light the pressures that apps are under to provide a quality experience for their users, while taking the powers of the carrier providers into consideration. Now that the news it out, Netflix is working on solutions to the video quality vs data cap dilemma. There are talks of a mobile data server that could be rolled out as soon as May, that would let users “stream more video under a smaller data plan.”


To see resources and read more information on this topic, please see the source articles: Telecoms & Wall Street Journal.

Dreams in 5G

Last week, Verizon Wireless shook headlines as the company claimed that they would begin conducting field tests using 5G technology next year. Verizon’s chief information and technology architect even stated that they expect “some level of commercial deployment” to occur by 2017. Earlier projections were slated for 2020 at the earliest. Yet trials by 2016 would position Verizon as the world’s first carrier to make substantial strides towards fifth-generation technology. While we can’t be sure just how large the scope of influence 5G will have, many reflect on how 4G LTE services ushered a new wave of mobile devices, tablets, and consumer goods. Verizon suggests that 5G connectivity will be 30 to 50 times faster than our current 4G LTE services.

Unfortunately, AT&T isn’t biting. Although Verizon turned up the heat by announcing 5G plans, AT&T believes this claim is drastically premature. According to Glenn Lurie, chief executive of AT&T Mobility, “We’re not at a point to be making promises or commitments to customers as to what 5G is. We as an industry have been really good at overpromising and underdelivering when it comes to new technology.” At this time, 5G technology remains in beta stage; no one can agree on what 5G actually entails. Lurie wants to be sure that before wireless companies begin making bold claims, the industry holds a solid consensus.

Verizon countered AT&T’s argument by presenting its strong network connections and facilities. While most heavyweight wireless carriers are dabbling in 5G technologies, Lurie asks the industry to first come together and figure out a standard for the technology. History distinctly recalls Verizon as the first to bat with 4G technology in 2008. Although AT&T initially downplayed the immediate benefits of 4G connectivity, the eventual adoption of 4G LTE by both Verizon and AT&T significantly changed the landscape of the wireless community.

For now, the hope is that 5G will bring speeds higher than Google Fiber optics to wireless devices. A full-length movie should be able to download in 15 seconds instead of the 6 minutes it currently takes on 4G. Now that’s fast!