AT&T's new Sponsored Data could be a huge win or huge catastrophe

AT&T Mobility president and CEO Ralph de la Vega announced today at CES 2014 a new service on the network called Sponsored Data. This will allow companies to essentially pay for your data usage while you're using their services, so that it won't count toward your monthly data cap. 

It's a plus in one way for consumers because if you use any apps or videos with sponsored data, you're getting more bang for your buck because you'll be using extra data without paying for it. It's also a plus for companies because advertising free data for their product will entice people to use it.

"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," de la Vega stated. "That’s what makes this a win-win for customers and businesses."

While this initially does sound like a win-win, there's the potential for huge problems. The Sponsored Data service could very well lead to people using apps based on if they offer free data instead of whether the apps are actually good. This might lead to people using poorly made apps advertising free data as opposed to apps with developers that pour time and care into making them great. Additionally, Sponsored Data puts companies with a lot of money at a very unfair advantage. Smaller companies with great services, but can't afford to participate in Sponsored Data, could easily get wiped out of their app marketplace by larger competitors with the money to offer free data. This would very negatively impact healthy competition.

Sponsored Data, while a good idea with potentially good benefits, might also be a slippery slope. The outcome remains to be seen.

Source: The Verge | Touching money icon image via Shutterstock

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It's a bad idea and will just make data more expensive. It'll shift the 'average amount of data used' down, so they can lower their data limits (or raise them more slowly) and justify it by saying 'only 5% of customers use that amount of data'. Then faced with either a higher bill or using sponsored data, more customers will use the sponsored data, and the same thing will happen again and again.

Rather than allowing consumers to get more reasonably priced data, it'll mean people have to check if their data allows them on certain web pages and apps...it's breaking net-neutrality without calling it by name.

AT&T is, as usual, very busy trying to find new way to screw people: now they are trying to circumvent Net neutrality. At first sight uninformed people could find it attractive and be lured on board.
Something to boycott immediately.

sponsored data is the ABSOLUTE WORST THING that can happen to the internet along with billing by the byte... all it does is make startups harder and make the rich media giants bigger and stronger

I want the rich media giants to sponsor my data international roaming charges when I go to the middle of nowhere.

Enron said,
I want the rich media giants to sponsor my data international roaming charges when I go to the middle of nowhere.

You know that isn't how it will work... they will in the end pay the ISPs to sponsor data then the ISP will turn around and still charge you more... remember when Cable TV was suppose to be pay once and have no commercials?.....

neufuse said,

You know that isn't how it will work... they will in the end pay the ISPs to sponsor data then the ISP will turn around and still charge you more... remember when Cable TV was suppose to be pay once and have no commercials?.....

Well I always remember cable TV having commercials as far back as when we got it in 1983, but I get your point. I was just hoping I could make it work against the people trying to get this idea off the ground.