AT&T has just announced a new plan at CES in Las Vegas dubbed Sponsored Data, which will enable businesses partnering with AT&T to assume the data costs associated with your use of their apps or services. This means you could potentially browse specific websites, stream video, or access certain apps without having to use any of your monthly data allowance.
Participating apps, videos, or other content will carry a Sponsored Data icon that consumers can look for in order to determine when their data plan will be unaffected and they can watch something or try something out for free.
“Customers love mobile content. 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…” suggested Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility.
There is potential for free app or game trials, movie trailers, video content, free browsing on mobile shopping sites, and loyalty reward programs. AT&T also sees an opportunity in the enterprise, as companies could assume the data costs associated with business-related apps and services.
This program potentially solves the issue of consumers being reticent to view advertisements, especially HD video, when it might eat their data allowance up. However, there is concern in some quarters about the impact this could have on fair competition. AT&T compares it to 1-800 numbers for businesses and promises that the sponsored data will be delivered at the same speed as non-sponsored content.
You can find out more about Sponsored Data at the AT&T website. We expect Verizon to follow suit with a similar sponsored data offering of its own in the imminent future.