Last week, T-Mobile CEO John Legere accused AT&T and Verizon of throttling Netflix streams, but as it turns out, it was Netflix itself that was throttling the streams, and it’s been doing so for years. The company admitted as much to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, claiming that it was only doing so in order to make sure the mobile users weren’t exceeding their data caps, which it believed would discourage them from using Netflix on their smartphones. It wasn’t just those two carriers either, Netflix admitted that it’s been throttling streams through most wireless carriers across the globe for more than five years.
Following accusations from T-Mobile CEO John Legere that AT&T and Verizon were throttling Netflix streams, Netflix has now admitted that it is responsible for capping the speed of the streams. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix confirmed that it has been throttling video streams for Verizon and AT&T customers for years: The popular video service said Thursday that for more than five years it has limited its video speeds to most wireless carriers across the globe, including AT&T and Verizon, to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps,” which may discourage future viewing. Specifically, Netflix says that it caps streams at 600 kilobits-per-second (Kbps) out of concerns that customers may stop using the service if its streams eat through too much monthly data. As for Sprint and T-Mobile, Netflix says that it doesn’t throttle streams going to customers on their networks because “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies.” In response to the revelation, AT&T expressed its disappointment to The Wall Street Journal in no uncertain terms: “We’re outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs.