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T-Mobile Pitches MLB.TV Free for One Year

Live baseball games fall under wireless carrier's Binge On unlimited streaming-video program

T-Mobile has taken another big swing at video, giving customers a free one-year subscription to MLB.TV, the live-streaming service from Major League Baseball.

The offer comes under the wireless carrier’s renewed pact with MLB for three more years as an official league sponsor. To obtain the free MLB.TV Premium subscription, which regularly costs $110 per season, T-Mobile Simple Choice customers on qualifying plans must sign up between April 3 and 10. The free subscriptions will expire Feb. 28, 2017.

For T-Mobile, streaming live baseball games to mobile devices is a way to persuade AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint customers to switch. In addition to mobile devices, T-Mobile customers will be able to access MLB.TV on a range of other platforms including the Web, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, PlayStation and Xbox.

MLB.TV, which provides access to all 2,430 regular-season games (outside a user’s home market), will fall under T-Mobile’s Binge On program if the service is accessed over the carrier’s high-speed network. Binge On currently exempts 42 partner streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and Amazon Video from counting toward LTE data-usage caps. T-Mobile raised the rates of most data plans with the launch of Binge On last November.

Critics have complained that T-Mobile’s Binge On unfairly lets only participating services deliver unmetered streaming video. In addition, YouTube has objected to T-Mobile’s practice of throttling video streams for all content, regardless of whether it’s part of Binge On. T-Mobile says that video on Binge On “typically streams at DVD quality (480p or better).”

Under its renewed MLB deal, T-Mobile will be title sponsor of the Home Run Derby during All-Star Week and the Junior Home Run Derby, a new nationwide competition for boys and girls launching in partnership with youth organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

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