T-Mobile’s Binge On program is a “zero-rating” program where customers are allowed to use certain streaming services (like Netflix and YouTube) without it counting against their monthly data allowance. New reports say Facebook could be the next to join the program, with the aim to show more video (and ads) to mobile users.
The FCC was already concerned about the fairness of zero-rating, fearing it could give T-Mobile’s partners an unfair advantage over competitors, because consumers might naturally move to services that don’t sap their data. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler launched an inquiry into the practice late last year but nothing real has come of it. On May 24 a group of 59 internet companies–including Pinterest, Foursquare, Mozilla, and Yelp–wrote a letter to the FCC asking the agency to go a step further and open a public comment period on the zero-rating practice. Two days later Wheeler would say only that the inquiry is ongoing.
If a company as big as Facebook is announced as the next Binge On partner, the matter might take on a new sense of urgency in the capital.