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T-Mobile Hikes Price of Most Data Plans With ‘Binge On’ Video-Streaming Rollout

When T-Mobile launches its Binge On unlimited video-streaming feature next week for some two dozen services, it will also raise the price of certain wireless-data plans for new customers.

“Delivering unlimited LTE plans is expensive and data usage skyrockets, so we’re updating Simple Choice (pricing plans) to affect today’s usage patterns,” a T-Mobile rep said in an emailed statement.

The carrier — which markets itself as a more consumer-friendly “un-carrier” versus its bigger competitors, AT&T and Verizon Wireless — on Tuesday unveiled Binge On, which will provide unlimited video streaming of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Dish Network’s Sling TV and other participating providers to any T-Mobile customer on a data plan with 3 GB or more allowance. None of the viewing of Binge On video services will count toward a qualifying user’s data-usage limit.

But when Binge On goes live Nov. 15 for new T-Mobile customers, the company also will charge more for some LTE data plans, while other packages will remain the same or decrease.

For single-line users with an unlimited data plan, T-Mobile will charge $45 monthly for new customers — up 50% from $30 previously, for a total of $95 per month (versus $80 before). In addition, a two-line plan with 10 GB data-usage caps for each user will increase from $100 to $120 monthly.

Previously, customers could get 1, 3 or 5 GB of 4G LTE data in 2-GB steps of $10. Under the revised plans, customers can get 2, 6 or 10 GB in 4-GB steps of $15. That’s lower per-gigabyte pricing, but it’s still a price increase.

T-Mobile pointed out that some customers will actually be able to get more data for a lower monthly bill under the new pricing structure: Those currently on the $70-per-month plan with 5 GB can move to the new $65 monthly tier with up to 6 GB of LTE data.

With the price changes, T-Mobile is adding other benefits besides Binge On. For customers with unlimited plans, the carrier is offering twice the amount of smartphone mobile hot-spot data (rising from 7 GB to 14 GB per month) and they’ll be eligible for one free movie rental per month from Walmart’s Vudu service for all of 2016. Also, T-Mobile is running a promo offering any customer a 30% discount off one year of Sling TV’s baseline package, for $14 per month (versus $20 regularly).

Meanwhile, Binge On currently excludes video from YouTube and Facebook, two of the biggest Internet-video sources. T-Mobile says Binge On is open to any streaming video provider that meets its technical requirements, for no charge, and that talks with additional partners are ongoing.

Video-streaming services initially participating in Binge On are: Sony’s Crackle, WatchESPN, Fox Sports and Fox Sports Go, HBO Now and HBO Go, Hulu, MLB.tv, NBC Sports, Netflix, Dish Network’s Sling TV and Slingbox, Showtime, Starz (including Encore and Movieplex), T-Mobile TV, Univision Deportes, Ustream, Vessel, Vevo and Vudu.

Existing T-Mobile customers, whose pricing for the time being will remain unchanged, are set to get Binge On starting next Thursday, Nov. 19.

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