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

Mummy wearing jewellery unearthed in Egypt
London, Nov 23 (IANS) Spanish archaeologists have discovered about 4,000 years old female mummy wearing rare jewellery in Egypt.
 
 
Exercise and fasting could boost brain's functions
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Exercise along with occasional fasting is good for boosting the brain's neurons, shows a new research.
 
 
One infant dies in Pakistan hospital
Islamabad, Nov 23 (IANS) One more infant died due to lack of oxygen in an incubator and negligence of the hospital administration in Pakistan, bringing the number of such deaths to 19 in the past five days.
 
 
American whiskey faces challenge in whisky-gulping India
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) For the most part Indians love things American, but when it comes to their tipple, the world's largest whisky drinkers usually go for Scotch or their very own home-made brands.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Australia the team to beat at World Cup: Vaughan
London, Nov 23 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan Sunday said that having hit upon a rich vein of form against South Africa, Australia have emerged as the front-runners and will be the team to beat at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Taylor Swift to receive Dick Clark Award
Los Angeles, Nov 23 (IANS) Singer Taylor Swift has been named as the first recipient of Dick Clark Award For excellence at 2014 American Music Awards (AMAs). The 24-year-old, who is enjoying a great year with her...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Australia displace India as top ODI team
Dubai, Nov 23 (IANS) Four-time World Champion Australia Sunday returned to the top of the One-Day International (ODI) Team Rankings, displacing India, after defeating South Africa 4-1 in a five-match series, as per the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Iraqi court sentences Sunni politician to death
Baghdad, Nov 23 (IANS) An Iraqi court Sunday sentenced a former Sunni lawmaker to death on a criminal charge, an official said. "The Central Criminal Court issued today a verdict of death penalty for the former...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Amzon Black Friday 2014: $3.99 Blu-ray Movies
Black Friday 2014 Sales events are underway since Friday with the Amazon Black Friday 2014 Deals Week and the Walmart Black Friday Pre Sale. Walmart matched several advertised Black Friday 2014 deals of competitors on...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Best Buy Black Friday 2014 sale launched with $3.99 Blu-ray Movie
Like Walmart and Amazon, Best Buy kicks off their Black Friday 2014 sale early. You can already buy Best Buy Black Friday deals advertised in the Best Buy Black Friday 2014 ad today online at bestbuy.com. There is no...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Messi delighted with new La Liga scoring record
Madrid, Nov 23 (IANS) Lionel Messi has made footballing history, scoring a hat-trick against Sevilla which made him the highest scorer in the history of the Spanish La Liga. Messi's 252nd, 253rd and 254th goals...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Tatum, Carolin to co-direct 'Leonard Peacock'
Los Angeles, Nov 23 (IANS) Actor Channing Tatum and filmmaker Reid Carolin have been roped in by the Weinstein Company to co-direct and produce the film "Leonard Peacock", an adaptation of Matthew Quick's YA book "...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Burdwan blast mastermind's wife held in Dhaka
Dhaka, Nov 23 (IANS) The women's wing chief of the terrorist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) who confessed to training at least 25 women in West Bengal has been arrested here, the media said Sunday. Fatema...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Afghan lower house approves US, NATO agreements
Kabul, Nov 23 (IANS) The lower house of Afghanistan's parliament Sunday approved a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO. In an extra-ordinary session, attended...
Read more on Politics Balla