AT&T's New "Sponsored Data" Feature Lets Companies Pay for Certain Services on 4G
January 6, 2014 12:45 PM
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The idea is that customers will be more likely to use a company's particular services if the company is picking up the tab
AT&T is open to having some of its customers' 4G data paid for by companies that want to promote their services.
According to a
from AT&T, the No. 2 carrier in the U.S. will offer a new service called "Sponsored Data," where companies pay for 4G data usage when their services are being used. The idea is that customers will be more likely to use their particular services if the company is picking up the tab.
When Sponsored Data is in effect, customers will see a "sponsored" icon in the status bar, and they won't have to pay a penny for data as long as it remains there.
“Customers love mobile content," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility. "Whether it’s shopping, banking, entertainment or personal wellness, mobile content is increasingly available for customers almost anywhere and anytime. And that’s what makes this a win-win for customers and businesses – customers just look for the Sponsored Data icon and they know the data related to that particular application or video is provided as a part of their monthly service. This is an exciting new opportunity for us and, most importantly, our customers.”
AT&T said there would be no performance differences between normal 4G and Sponsored Data.
The new feature is getting a lot of attention from net neutrality groups like Public Knowledge, which says that carriers shouldn't be in control of what its customers do on the Internet. However, the lack of net neutrality rules for mobile data will allow the feature to roll out.
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RE: Seems like a way to bypass net neutrality
1/6/2014 6:21:34 PM
How can Hulu pay them? By raising the rates for Hulu itself. So, what's the difference between an AT&T customer paying for their extra bandwidth and Hulu paying for that AT&T customer's extra bandwidth? Simple: If Hulu pays, then all Hulu customers subsidize that AT&T customer's phone bill. This is extremely unfair to Hulu's non-AT&T customers, and for that reason I would hope that Hulu and everyone else would tell AT&T to take a long hike down a short pier, otherwise every ISP - cell company or otherwise - will start extorting these "fees".
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