When it comes to streaming music and video on your mobile device, T-Mobile now offers subscribers an embarrassment of riches — and without the embarrassment of having to burn through all their monthly data.
The carrier continues to expand the ranks of streaming services participating in Binge On, with ABC and Disney among the latest to join up. Apple Music, which was already among the more than 40 music and audio services available through T-Mobile's Music Freedom, has added its video library to Binge On. All told, more than 100 video services now participate in Binge On, quadrupling the number of participants since T-Mobile launched the feature in November 2015.
Both Music Freedom and Binge On work essentially the same way. Stream audio or video from one of the supported services, and it won't count against your monthly data allowance from T-Mobile. Music Freedom is available to anyone with one of T-Mobile's Simple Choice Plans; to take advantage of Binge On, you'll need a plan with at least 3GB of monthly data.
Binge On has seen its share of controversy since T-Mobile launched it in late 2015. The service, which is turned on by default, reduces the resolution of streams to what T-Mobile calls "DVD quality." Some video providers had complained that T-Mobile was lowering the quality of their streams even though they weren't Binge On participants; T-Mobile has since given streaming services a way to opt out of Binge On entirely.
T-Mobile would counter that users unhappy with Binge On can always turn it off — and very few seem to have exercised that option. The carrier says its subscribers are now watching twice as much video since Binge On launched. As for Music Freedom, T-Mobile says its subscribers have listened 90 billion songs without any impact on their data since the service launched in 2014. All told, T-Mobile says its customers have saved more than 350 petabytes of high-speed data through both Binge On and Music Freedom.
With more than 140 services to choose from, it's hard keeping track of which ones are participating in Music Freedom and Binge On. (You can find the full list of music and video providers at T-Mobile's website.) If you're a T-Mobile subscriber, here are the top content providers you'll want to stream using either of the carrier's data-free streaming services.
Think of this as a two-for-one deal. You could already stream music for free from Tidal as part of T-Mobile's Music Freedom program. But Tidal also makes its video library available to Binge On users, allowing you to stream videos like Beyonce's Lemonade without it hitting your data cap. Other music services taking part in both Music Freedom and Binge On include Google Play Music, Spotify and, most recently, Apple Music.
That's right: You can now watch videos through Apple's streaming music service without tapping your monthly data. The addition isn't a surprise, since Apple Music had been a part of T-Mobile's Music Freedom offering since it replaced Beats Music in June 2015. T-Mobile quickly added the service to Music Freedom, citing a flood of requests on Twitter. In fact, you can urge the carrier to add new services with the #MusicFreedom hashtag.
Netflix was made for binge-watching, whether it's the streaming service's original programs like House of Cards and Daredevil or the movies and TV shows Netflix makes available. Just be aware that programming comes and goes on Netflix all the time.
Google's streaming service had resisted Binge On at first, but joined the party in March after T-Mobile gave providers more options on optimizing their streams. In addition to YouTube, you'll also find Google Play Movies & TV now supported by Binge On.
Missed who got booted from The Bachelorette? Want to catch up on recent episodes of How to Get Away With Murder? ABC has made its catalog of shows available through Binge On, with a handful of recently aired episodes for each program available for streaming. You can also find blasts from the past such as SportsNight, My So Called Life and Dinosaurs in ABC's archive.
Major League Baseball
A new season's underway, and you won't have to worry about slamming into your data limit as you watch live streams of your favorite team chasing down a pennant.
HBO Now and HBO Go
Whether you get HBO as part of your cable package (HBO Go) or you're a cord-cutter who'd rather not forego a steady intake of Game of Thrones, both of HBO's streaming apps won't impact your monthly data allotment on T-Mobile.
If you missed one of Jimmy Fallon's viral Tonight Show bits or that Saturday Night Live sketch everyone's talking about, you needn't worry that catching up will eat into your data plan. NBC's streaming app, which lets you watch full episodes of the network's shows a day after they air, has been added to the ranks of Binge On. The NBC Sports Live app supports Binge On, too, featuring live streaming of golf, hockey, football and soccer among other sports.
Binge On is now another wing of the Mouse House, as a trio of Disney video offerings — Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD — now stream content that won't eat into your data plan. Disney Radio was already part of Music Freedom and is among the music services that also makes video content available to Binge On users.
Spotify ended 2015 as the most popular music app, according to usage and download charts from analytics service App Annie. It was one of the eight original music streaming services to be included under Music Freedom, and like Tidal, Spotify added video content that you can stream without impacting your monthly data.
Like Spotify, Pandora was one of the early participants in Music Freedom. Its participation T-Mobile's streaming program gives the carrier a one-two punch with leading mobile music providers.
ESPN's collection of sports talk programming is a noteworthy edition to Music Freedom precisely because it has nothing to do with music.
For $9.99 per month, you not only get access to every WWE pay-per-view event, but 5,000 hours of on-demand programming featuring original shows and archived matches. And with Binge On, none of that comes out of your monthly data allotment.
Many of the providers participating in Binge On are letting you stream their content. Slingbox is a little bit different, as it's allowing you to watc programming from your cable box when you're out and about.
Not to be confused with Slingbox, Sling TV is a subscription service aimed at cord cutters, where a $20 a month subscription gets you access programming from ESPN, AMC, A&E, TBS and more. T-Mobile subscribers can take advantage of a current offer that gives them 30 percent off a year's subscription to Sling.