You're The Product, Not The Customer - AT&T To Introduce "Sponsored Data"

Jan 6 2014, 1:33pm CST | by

You're The Product, Not The Customer - AT&T To Introduce "Sponsored Data"
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true (with a healthy dose of Starbucks advertising along for the ride).

We all moan about the cost of mobile data – seemingly for those of us used to free WiFi being fairly common, we’re starting to expect that our mobile data should be similarly gratis. Ever looking for opportunities to differentiate in the cut throat and threatened telco space, AT&T is delivering on this desire and is announcing a new “sponsored data” service in which organizations can cover the cost of mobile data for particular applications or services – likely in return for ramming obnoxious advertising down our throats.

The model is similar to what in-flight connectivity providers have been doing for awhile – I remember being excited on a flight last year when I could surf Facebook for free, and then frustrated that anything of value was outside of the free option. Virgin America also offers free visits to eBay (but one assumes, no similar approach to in-flight eBay shipment delivery).

First to sign up to the AT&T offer is United Health Group who is going to deliver “educational videos and other healthcare information” to users.

However not everyone is happy with this move. ABC News reports that the communication rights advocacy group Fre Press is worried. Policy Director Matt Woods was concerned that the move would lead to double dipping by telcos:

Given that consumers pay for a “bucket” of data every month and very few exceed it (AT&T says only a small percentage does), they won’t actually save any money through the service. Meanwhile, the sponsoring companies are paying AT&T for the new sponsorships. In addition, there’s no possibility for any oversight of the charges and fees. It’s ripe for abuse and double-charging,

Concerns have also been raised about the impacts sponsored data will have on consumer internet usage. The suggestion is that consumers will tend towards viewing sites that they can access for free and hence will have negative impacts on the breadth of access. IN yet another example of homogenization of information, users will tend towards sites that can afford to pay for sponsored content, and away to those that cannot afford to do so. Unless of course we start to see the Library of Congress sponsoring data in which case there’s a fair case to be paid for the positive impacts of the program as millions move away from Candy Crush and on to more intellectually high-brow content types.

This sort of offering is very much a taste of things to come – expect to be offered up free mobile surfing with a banner-add for an ab-flexer some time soon…

Connect with Ben on Twitter @benkepes | LinkedIn AngelList

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

5 features an Amazon phone might offer
NEW YORK (AP) — Rumors of an Amazon smartphone reached a fever pitch this week, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the device could be due out this year. Amazon hasn't confirmed that it has plans...
 
 
Why Drink Organic, Biodynamic And Sustainable Wines For Earth Day?
Six Organic Wines To Try Now Talking about organic wine is surprisingly complicated. When I set out to write this column I planned on rounding up some organic producers, tasting some wines and calling out the tastiest...
 
 
Washington's Anxiety as the President Heads to Asia
Anxiety is everywhere these days in the debate over U.S. policy toward Asia. Here in Washington, there seems to be deep anxiety about the Obama administration’s ability to fulfill its promise to rebalance to Asia. In...
 
 
'The Elder Scrolls Online' Hit With First Major Bug, The Infinite Dupe
When you make an MMO, you will eventually learn a hard lesson about how a single bug can derail your entire game. Right now, that’s exactly what’s happening with The Elder Scrolls Online. Players are rolling around in...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

iOS 6 Users Facing Problems with FaceTime
The iOS 6 users are getting frustrated with the FaceTime, a popular video calling software, as it is continuing to crash in their iPhones and iPads.The users have informed the problem on a thread of Apple Support...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Apple Offering Redesigned iPad Mini with Retina Display at 15% Discount
Apple brings a great offer for the iPad lovers, as the company decides to sell the refurbished model of iPad Mini with Retina display with a great discount of 15%.According to Apple Insider, the 16-GB model is being...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
SungardASVoice: Three Things Businesses Can Learn From The Decline Of American Idol
By Adam Wren Thirteen years into its prime-time run, “American Idol” is a brand in decline. But the kinds of things the show can do–and, in some cases, is doing–to change its fortunes can serve as an example to other...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Justin Bieber crashed Drake Bell's party
Justin Bieber crashed Drake Bell's album party on Thursday night (04.17.14). The 20-year-old singer - who has been repeatedly attacked by the former Nickelodeon star on Twitter in recent months - went out of his way to...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
5 features an Amazon phone might offer
NEW YORK (AP) — Rumors of an Amazon smartphone reached a fever pitch this week, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the device could be due out this year. Amazon hasn't confirmed that it has plans...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Asia's Week: Japan's Rebound Gets More Taxing
Another calamitous loss of human life gripped Asia’s attention this week, relegating economic matters to secondary notice, but they were also of concern. China’s growth pauses never cease to furrow brows but it is Japan...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
Why Drink Organic, Biodynamic And Sustainable Wines For Earth Day?
Six Organic Wines To Try Now Talking about organic wine is surprisingly complicated. When I set out to write this column I planned on rounding up some organic producers, tasting some wines and calling out the tastiest...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Washington's Anxiety as the President Heads to Asia
Anxiety is everywhere these days in the debate over U.S. policy toward Asia. Here in Washington, there seems to be deep anxiety about the Obama administration’s ability to fulfill its promise to rebalance to Asia. In...
Read more on Business Balla
 
'The Elder Scrolls Online' Hit With First Major Bug, The Infinite Dupe
When you make an MMO, you will eventually learn a hard lesson about how a single bug can derail your entire game. Right now, that’s exactly what’s happening with The Elder Scrolls Online. Players are rolling around in...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla