T-Mobile US announced the addition of more music and video streaming services to its zero-rated data offers, Music Freedom and Binge On. The new additions include Amazon Music and ESPN Radio for streaming music and Dailymotion, EPIX, Nickelodeon, Spike, TV Land and others for streaming video. With the latest additions, more than 100 music and video services are available free of charge to T-Mobile customers on certain postpaid plans. Since Music Freedom was launched, T-Mobile customers have streamed 90 billion songs free, averaging 210 million songs per day. With Binge On, T-Mobile says, its customers have streamed over 190 million hours of video free. In total it claims to have saved customers over 350 PB of data.
Unlike in the Hungarian example above, this free-data offer, targeted though it is, seems too generous to have any chance of benefiting the operator’s bottom line. By piling on more and more zero-rated data for music and video streaming—which are among the most data-intensive functionalities available to mobile users—T-Mobile is feeding an appetite that will only increase. The motivation for the operator appears to be promotional in nature, to attract customers and build loyalty. That is fine as far as it goes, but if the quantity of data given away is too large, it will not be able to pay for itself in the long run. In fact, considering the addictive nature of these services, by setting the bar so high T-Mobile is only ensuring that it will have to up the ante in the future and give away more and more data. It should also be noted that the immense figure of 350 PB puts the controversy over Binge On’s alleged throttling in the shade.