T-Mobile Expands Free Music Streaming Offerings

T-Mobile Simple Choice plan customers get free music streaming through Pandora, Rhapsody and other services without using their data plans.

T-Mobile streaming music

T-Mobile Simple Choice plan customers can now get more music streamed to their mobile devices without having to use their data plans under an expanded program announced by the carrier on Nov. 24.

Back in June, T-Mobile gave its customers on Simple Choice plans the abilities to listen to streaming music from Pandora, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Slacker and Spotify without it ever affecting their high-speed data allowances. Previously, such streaming would count against a user's data plan usage.

Now 14 more music streaming vendors have been added to T-Mobile's so-called "Music Freedom" program, allowing customers to receive free streaming without using their data plan allotments, according to the company. The added streaming services include Google Play Music, Xbox Music, SoundCloud, RadioTunes, Digitally Imported, Fit Radio, Fresca Radio, JAZZRADIO, Live 365, Mad Genius Radio, radioPup, Radio.com, ROCKRADIO and Saavn.

The program allows T-Mobile customers to stream all the music they want from the providers with no data service charges. The music streaming vendors also are not charged by T-Mobile for providing the services, according to the company. "No backroom deals. No paid prioritization. Just you and your music—unleashed," the company said in a statement.

"Music Freedom is pro-consumer, pro-music and pure Un-carrier," John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, said in a statement. "And today we're taking another huge step toward our ultimate goal of including every streaming music service in the program. Anyone can play. No one pays. And everyone wins."

Since launching the Music Freedom in June, the number of T-Mobile customers streaming music each day has jumped nearly 300 percent, according to the company, with about 66 million songs being streamed for free each day. That's about 200 terabytes of data daily, the company said.

The 13 existing Music Freedom services already being offered by T-Mobile since June also include AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Samsung Milk Music, Radio Paradise, Rdio and Songza.

The participating music streaming services were suggested by T-Mobile customers or responded on their own to T-Mobile's earlier invitation to join the Music Freedom program, according to the company. "T-Mobile has a vision to add every possible music streaming service to Music Freedom, and any music streaming provider can be part of Music Freedom by applying through T-Mobile's open submission process," the company said.

When it unveiled the original Music Freedom program, T-Mobile's Legere said that it was a response to what he called a "broken" Internet radio model because of the data needs of streaming audio. "We see an opportunity to set people free. Our competitors see an opportunity to gouge you," he said at the time. "Our view is, let's just give all the streaming music services away. Let's set the price for all of these to zero."

Some critics of the Music Freedom program, however, say they continue to have concerns about it because it essentially treats different types of data differently, which is what net neutrality advocates want to avoid, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

T-Mobile insists that, since there is no commercial relationship between T-Mobile and the music services it is streaming for free, there are no violations of the net neutrality tenets.