Home - , , - Updated - Not Working: Enable and Disable T-Mobile's Binge On With USSD Codes

Updated - Not Working: Enable and Disable T-Mobile's Binge On With USSD Codes

Binge On USSD Code

There have been countless blog posts and news articles, including a few here on PrepaidPhoneNews, explaining how to turn T-Mobile's controversial Bing On feature off and on. You can do it with the My T-Mobile App for iOS or Android or on the My T-Mobile desktop or mobile websites.  That works but takes a few clicks and some waiting, especially using T-Mobile's no so speedy mobile site. It turns out there's an easier way. Twitter user and PrepaidPhoneNews reader @Loco_Mole discovered a faster and easier way to enable and disable Binge On using USSD codes:
  • Dial #264# to check Binge On Status
  • Dial #263# to disable Binge On
  • Dial #266# to enable Binge On
@Loco_Mole found these codes on T-Mobile's official list of Self Service codes. Shortly after he tweeted about his discovery, the Binge On codes disappeared from the T-Mobile site. The screen shot below shows Google cache's copy of the page before it was edited to remove the codes. I guess T-Mobile doesn't want to make it too easy to toggle Bing On off and on.

T-Mobile Self Service Codes Page

If you missed all the hoopla, Binge On throttles all video streams to 1.5 Mbps and makes viewing of some them is zero-rated, meaning they don't count against the user's high speed data cap. Binge On is enabled by default for all T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers, but only T-Mobile users with plans that include 3 GB or more high speed data get zero-rated streaming.

The majority of streams that are zero rated are either obscure or ones you have to pay for. YouTube, the most popular free streaming service by far, is throttled but not zero rated. The throttling makes YouTube videos stutter and buffer and Google, YouTube's parent, isn't happy about that. T-Mobile claims they need You Tube's cooperation to zero rate it. It seems to me that if T-Mobile can detect and throttle YouTube there's nothing stopping them from also zero rating it. I believe Binge On could be a great service if T-Mobile would make it easy for users to turn it on and off on the fly and treat all video services the same. When Binge On is enabled all video should be both throttled and zero-rated. Withe @Loco_Mole's discovery the first problem  is solved, assuming T-Mobile doesn't get all hissy and disable the codes. Now T-Mobile just needs to fix Binge On by making it fair and equitable to all content providers.

Update 1/15/15 10 AM: The Binge On short codes are no longer working. I guess T-Mobile doesn't want us to be able to disable Binge On too easily.

Images: Twitter


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27 comments:

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  1. On Family Mobile (T-Mo MVNO), I am BingeOn'ed, makes my home Plex server unusable. The check and disable USSDs reply "USSD code running" and then "Non-Existing Short Code".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried #263# with my TMO phone, got "Non-Existing Short Code" and binge on would not turn off. I thought this sounded "to good to be true."

      Delete
    2. Same here, it looks like T-Mobile doesn't want people to turn Binge On off easily.

      Delete
  2. T-Mobile has to make sure Binge can be turned off in order to avoid an FCC inquisition, but that doesn't mean they'll make it easy.

    They'd much rather force universal video throttling on all their subs ala Cricket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cricket, in keeping with net neutrality laws, doesn't have video throttling. All data is either throttled or not.

      Delete
    2. Cricket throttles everything. That's a worse user experience but more fair, so people who prefer equality over quality love that.

      Delete
    3. Cricket's throttled speed in most of the country allows you to stream any music other Netflix or YouTube easily. If i ask you what Cricket's speed prevents you from doing, i will hear nothing but crickets fron you. That's quality.

      T-Mobile, in great contrast, provides 0 bars of data in most places. That's not even at attempt at quality. 0 mbps being far worse than "throttled" 5mps.

      Delete
    4. Sour grapes much?

      Delete
    5. The sourest grapes of all is going from the ATT network to T-Mobile and its much lower average speed.

      Delete
  3. From a net neutrality, this isn't half as bad as the parental controls T-Mobile enabled on my account without my consent. It's not even close, because I can turn off BingeOn without showing three forms of ID.

    The real question is, "Why does T-Mobile hate the First Amendment?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question. You have to really be a total bad guy to hate the EFF, too.

      Delete
    2. T-Mobile opposition to 1A & EFF is probably a product of the FCC. When your company & industry is regulated by bureaucrats who favor censorship, dislike freedom, and don't understand technology...

      Delete
    3. I understand technology, and understand that the real censorship is T-Mobile throttling data based on not liking the content.

      In this situation anyway, T-Mobile is taking the low road and should stop cheating its customers and committing related crimes.

      Delete
    4. To make you guys happy, maybe T-Mobile should throttle all data for people with BingeOn and put a hard cap on people who opt out. >.<

      Delete
    5. I understand technology, and understand that the real censorship is not slowing down certain sites or content but true censorship is blocking certain sites based on categorizarion as "sex" or "drugs" or whatever else is being literally censored.

      Delete
    6. Nice try to justify censorship, but it won't fly.

      Delete
    7. It shouldn't fly but the FCC allows ISP to censor sites.

      The FCC also requires TV stations to censor content and fines them if they don't comply.

      Complaining about throttling youtube is straining at gnats while swallowing bushels of cockroaches.

      Delete
    8. "true censorship is blocking certain sites based on categorizarion as "sex" or "drugs" or whatever else is being literally censored."

      You forgot Rock & Roll!

      Delete
  4. Someone here has things backwards. After all, if there wasn't censorship involved, there wouldn't by anything like Legere's embarrassing tirade against the EFF.

    The EFF, an organization beloved of those who defend civil liberties and oppose all censorship.

    ReplyDelete
  5. T-Mobile says they were testing the short codes. Test over, codes disabled for now.

    During its independent study of 1000 Tmo customers, P3 Group consulting found that with Binge On, the bandwidth allotted to video — streamed or downloaded — was around 1.5Mbps, echoing the findings of the EFF. However, P3 says that apart from net neutrality concerns, the bandwidth limitation actually has positive effects. With Binge On, customers spend more time watching more video, video services get more content in front of users, and T-Mobile attracts customers and can better fight network congestion, says P3.

    It's working well for customers and T-Mobile. Binge On!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NO! NO! NO!

      It doesn't matter how many people benefit from Binge On. Some people don't benefit so they should be allowed to use the FCC as a bludgeon to stop those other people from benfiting.

      Delete
    2. No T-Mobile customers agree with you. And many people will switch to T-Mobile to get Binge On. FCC has not announced any issue with Binge On following their meeting with T-Mobile. This is just Tmo envy. If your favorite carrier offered this service, you would love it, and brag to all your friends.

      Delete
    3. Censored, throttled content is not a "benefit". The only bludgeoning here is being done by TMO.

      Delete
    4. I think the number of customers of other carriers who want Binge-On, with its arbitrary slowing/censorship of content from companies it happens to dislike, to come to their carrier can fit inside a Nokia flip phone.

      Delete
  6. Why would I do this? TMO goes out of its way to throttle just about the only video provider I've ever used in mobile.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The only "benefit" that can come about is if the EFF and others prevail and the FCC requires T-Mobile to obey the law. Might as well call "Binge On" "Bludge On" instead for its hamhanded censorship.

    The results of the pressure to make T-Mobile stop the criminal activity, or even pay for it, would be very good for T-Mobile customers. They could do the right thing and change Binge-On so that ALL data could be binged (web, video, music, anything you think of). Very legal. Or something might happen with a class action lawsuit causing T-Mobile to credit its customers for the time that the customers received illegally-curtailed service.

    The benefits are great to all carriers if T-mobile is stopped. T-Mobile is testing the waters for all of them in the area of flying in the fact of the law and taking a creepy interest in what types of data customers are using. You can bet Verizon and the others want to see T-Mobile prevail. Or Cricket, which is currently violating this law by banning tether.

    It's hard to imagine anyone supporting this censorship and lawbreaking, really. As it can only make things worse for customers AND damage our First Amendment.

    ReplyDelete
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