Stay in your lane, John Legere
Was just reading John Legere’s response to the criticism of the Binge On program from T-Mobile and while I really like the whole Uncarrier initiative, he is off base on this issue. Firstly, here is the statement for your perusal:
Customers choice is important
Yes customer choice is an important part of the way the world works and capitalism in general, but who is choosing in the case of their Binge On program? It is opt-in by default and so that means consumers are taking part without even knowing about it.
John Legere and T-Mobile are now in charge of your brand experience
Imagine if you will that T-Mobile is a toll road operator. It is an analogy for how all Internet Service Providers should be seen. Their job is to allow you to move you, your car, family, freight, whatever from Point A to Point B for a price. What T-Mobile is now doing is for example saying that only Honda Accord’s are allowed on their highway. So if you are Lexus and provide a high quality luxury vehicle to customers, as soon as they enter the T-Mobile highway, that turns into an Accord along with every other brand. All of that focus on a beautiful unique experience turns into the same experience which might be lower than the quality you are trying to project on your brand.
The worst part is that the user doesn’t get told that the toll road operator is the one forcing this experience on you. They believe that your brand is just suddenly low quality when on the road and your brand suffers. The whole point of a brand is consistent differentiated experience and T-Mobile is throwing this to the side in order to move forward their own image and brand in the eyes of customers without taking any of the heat for the quality degradation.
There are people out there saying we’re “throttling.” They’re playing semantics! Binge On does NOT permanently slow down data nor remove customer control.
So let's look up the definition of throttling in the context of data transfer:
to obstruct or check the flow of (a fluid), as to control the speed of an engine.
Permanence of limiting the flow of data doesn’t change that they are, in fact, throttling. No semantics play here, just a direct dictionary definition of the word throttling which pretty accurately describes what they are doing. And since it is on by default, the consumer isn’t choosing anything. In fact most consumers assume the network is like the road provider analogy and that they don’t change or modify the vehicles that cross that road. But T-Mobile is in fact doing that and, frankly, it is wrong. The results, to consumers, are great because T-Mobile is the hero for reducing overage costs at the expense of your brand image.