Netflix admitted Friday that it has been throttling video streams on the Verizon Wireless and AT&T mobile networks, reducing the quality of video on those networks, according to ArsTechnica.
Netflix said it was throttling the bandwidth to help mobile users stay under their data caps imposed by wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T. Netflix, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, said it has been throttling service across most worldwide mobile carriers for five years.
However, Netflix wasn’t applying the lowered bitrate strategy to mobile carriers Sprint and T-Mobile USA. According to ArsTechnica, Netflix said the reasoning behind this was those two carriers allow customers to “exceed their caps without being automatically charged extra fees.”
Netflix responded to the story Friday with a statement that said the company is trying to explore ways to give members more control over their experience. The company said it will introduce a data saver feature designed specifically for mobile apps.
The data saver from Netflix will give users control over their data usage when streaming over mobile networks allowing to increase or decrease the quality based on the customer’s data plan. Netflix said it was planning to roll out the new service to members at some point in May.
Netflix also addressed the WSJ article saying, “We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work, and more…It’s about striking a balance that ensures a good streaming experience while avoiding unplanned fines from mobile providers.”
According to Neflix, the issue of reduced bitrate on mobile devices “hasn’t been an issue for our members.”
AT&T told ArsTechnica that it was “outraged” to learn that Netflix was throttling their video signal. Verizon didn’t respond to a request for comment from ArsTechnica.