T-Mobile's plan to charge users for higher quality video seems to be working

For the past few years, T-Mobile has tried to sway customers on a series of aggressive policy changes. The most controversial of these has been its willingness to “zero-rate” popular apps — that is, prevent programs like Netflix or Spotify from counting against your data cap if you use them on the carrier’s network.

It sounds like a weird thing to get mad about — who doesn’t like free stuff? Yet it stands opposed to the idea of an open internet, where all things pass through the tubes unhindered. In other words, it’s a net neutrality problem. And with its new T-Mobile One plans, the carrier has effectively made this idea standard: You get “unlimited” data, but all video is limited to a low-res 480p until you pay an extra fee.

But as this chart from Statista shows, T-Mobile’s customer base might not mind. According to a recent study by FierceWireless and consulting firm P3, T-Mobile users have consumed far more mobile data on average than their peers this year, and have spent a longer time doing it.

While it’s possible that T-Mobile users are simply more prone to eating up data, the fact that T-Mobile has pushed these zero-rating policies so hard suggests things are related. If more and more customers take a liking to the idea, it might make it harder for net neutrality advocates to make their case. For what it’s worth, Sprint has already rolled out something similar.

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