T-Mobile has been luring travelers to its networks with one perk after the next—Free global data roaming! Free music streaming! Free cellular service in Mexico and Canada!—and today it’s put the icing on the cake. Starting Sunday, the telecom giant will let anyone on its network stream video from a full 24 service providers without adding so much as a single MB to their monthly data allotment. Among the content providers that have already signed up? Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, ESPN, and more. (Yes, you have to be a subscriber to each network in order to access the content.)
For users who are grandfathered into unlimited data with T-Mobile, the carrier is sweetening the deal: these customers will get a free movie rental every month in 2016.
It all looks and sounds simple on the surface, but this move signals a technology shift for T-Mobile as well: the network has built a smart system that optimizes video for mobile screens and makes data streaming more efficient without compromising quality. That said, the network is promising a resolution of 480p+, which is what you’d get on a standard DVD—but shy of the full 1080p resolution many iTunes users are accustomed to.
In any event, other networks will have to join in the effort if they want to stay relevant; industry forecasts show that mobile video streaming will quadruple in the next five years alone. And for travelers on the go, there are more than enough things to worry about aside from data overages. Kudos to T-Mobile for crossing that off the list.