Facebook is one of the world’s largest social networks. As with all of the platforms, Facebook adapts and changes to current and anticipated industry trends in the short, medium and longer term. One of these trends is mobile video, where the company has been making a big push in the last two years. Facebook now competes with the big names, such as YouTube, for social video watching services. We’ve seen the Facebook video numbers climbing quarter on quarter and now it appears that Facebook have a new potential way to increase their mobile video numbers in the form of North American carrier, T-Mobile US. T-Mobile US is the third largest national carrier having overtaken Sprint last year, but as well as the subscriber numbers growing, T-Mobile US is about the customers.
To this end, T-Mobile works a little differently to most carriers. Indeed, T-Mobile calls itself “the uncarrier” and it has worked hard to differentiate itself from its competitors. It was one of the first carriers to offer the “equipment installation plans,” that is, customers can see exactly how much they are paying for a device as part of their bill, rather than the traditional two year plan where the costs of the device are wrapped up in the overall prices. T-Mobile offers unlimited data plans but also has something else: for selected industry partners and most plans, it offers unlimited music and video streaming regardless of the metered data available. Customers using a qualifying music or video service can stream over the mobile data network as much as they want, because this usage will not come from their monthly plan data allowance.
We’ve seen a report today that highlights Facebook and T-Mobile US are working together to bring Facebook’s mobile video site and service to T-Mobile’s unlimited video platform, Binge On. Binge On works by compressing video streams, which increases the efficiency of the T-Mobile network and ultimately should help keep a good customer experience in terms of how reliable the service will play a video. Unfortunately, videos streamed over Binge On are currently at less than a high definition resolution. If Facebook were to add their mobile video to Binge On, they would join companies such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO and ESPN. We understand that T-Mobile US are prepared to work with any and all parties, but do require some modification to the video stream such that it may be identified by the Binge On service. This work is underway within Facebook, but unfortunately neither Facebook nor T-Mobile US were prepared to comment at this time.