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T-Mobile to change Netflix benefit for most customers

Netflix. (Stock image by Thibault Penin via Unsplash)
(Stock image by Thibault Penin via Unsplash)

One of T-Mobile’s long-time perks is getting an upgrade — or a downgrade, depending on how you look at things.

Starting January 24, T-Mobile customers who receive free access to Netflix will soon encounter advertisements when they stream movies and TV shows from the service.

The change comes several months after Netflix removed the “Basic” tier of service, which offered ad-free streaming of standard definition video limited to one stream at a time for around $10 per month.

The Basic tier was retired last summer, though Netflix continued supporting it for grandfathered subscribers of the streaming service and those who received it as part of a third-party plan, like T-Mobile.

Internal documents first published by industry blog The Mobile Report explains customers who receive Netflix Basic will automatically be converted to Netflix with Ads, with their accounts updated on January 25 — one day after the change is scheduled to take place on T-Mobile’s end.

The conversion comes with some added benefits: Rather than limiting streams to standard or enhanced definition, T-Mobile customers who get Netflix with Ads will be able to stream content in full high definition, can download shows and movies to two different devices, and can stream content on two devices at once.

Customers who want to eliminate ads will have to pay for the privilege: T-Mobile will give customers around $7 per month to choose from two other tiers of service, including Netflix Standard (normally $15.50 per month) and Netflix Premium ($23 per month). The discount prices will see customers pay around $8.50 per month for Netflix Standard and $16 per month for Netflix Premium, but only if they agree to be billed for Netflix as part of their T-Mobile service.

This week, T-Mobile announced it will soon offer customers another perk: Free access to the Walt Disney Company’s general entertainment streaming service, Hulu. Like Netflix, the free Hulu perk requires customers to stream content with advertisements; unlike the Netflix perk, the free Hulu subscription is limited to customers who subscribe to T-Mobile’s Go5G Next plan, which is also its most-expensive.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).