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Netflix Admits to Downgrading Video Quality on AT&T, Verizon Phones

Netflix said it had been lowering the quality of its video for customers watching its service on wireless networks such as AT&T and Verizon Communications for more than five years, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The company also said that it does not downgrade videos for T-Mobile and Sprint users because they had "more consumer friendly policies," the Journal added.

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, delivers a keynote address at the 2016 CES trade show in Las Vegas
Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, delivers a keynote address at the 2016 CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

In response to requests for comment, Netflix said it had posted a blog on Thursday. In the blog, it said it had limited its video quality for mobile viewers globally, capping them at 600 kilobits-per-second, to protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps.

The dominant online video company also said that it will introduce a data-saver feature for mobile apps which will allow users more control over their data usage while streaming on mobile networks.

This feature is expected to be available to users sometime in May, Netflix added.

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"We're outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent," Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs wrote in an email.