Three will offer unlimited video streaming of Netflix, BBC and more on mobile that won't eat up your data

Lynsey Barber
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The "Go Binge" bundle will let users stream TV and movies without using data (Source: Getty)

Three is set to become the first mobile operator in the UK to let users stream video on mobile phones across its network for free when it comes to data use.

The China-owned operator is partnering with Netflix, and TVPlayer, a service streaming the UK’s TV channels such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, as well as music streaming services Deezer and SoundCloud.

The number of people streaming video on mobile has exploded in recent years, however, many mobile plans limit the amount of data that can be used or offer pricey plans for unlimited use.

Three's Go Binge plan will let users stream unlimited music and video from the services without it using any of their data allowance.

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Netflix boss Reed Hastings said earlier this year the tech company was working with mobile operators in Europe on how to handle the millions of hours of video streamed across networks each day. Speaking at Mobile World Congress, he said that would likely come in terms of lower speeds and unlimited data plans for video streaming.

"What we are going to see I think is a number of companies pioneering new ways of offering services to the consumers where it is unlimited video data but it is limited to say one megabit speed," he said.

"So it is a slower speed but you get unlimited data on that and that turns out to be very efficient on network so an operator can offer unlimited viewing."

Free video streaming has already been introduced in the US by some mobile networks, Verizon and T-Mobile among them, in the battle to win customers.

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Such favouring of some services and website over others by mobile operators has raised concerns in terms of net neutrality rules. In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dropped an investigation into US providers earlier this year.

"These free-data plans have proven to be popular among consumers, particularly low-income Americans, and have enhanced competition in the wireless marketplace," said its chairman Ajit Pai.

Regulations set out by the EU last year on net neutrality state providers can not block or slow access, but some rules covering so-called zero-rating (when data traffic is not counted) are not clear cut and have yet to be put to the test.

This article originally stated the partnership also included Amazon Prime. It does not and has been updated accordingly.

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