AT&T Introduces 'Sponsored Data' to Allow Businesses to Cover Cost of Mobile Data Downloads

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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AT&T today announced a new Sponsored Data program to allow its customers to download content or apps over cellular data, with businesses picking up the cost of the data -- that is, downloads won't affect the users' monthly wireless data plan allotment.

The system, which works similarly to toll-free 800-numbers, was originally rumored nearly two years ago.

According to AT&T, the service will allow companies to sponsor data use across a number of industries including healthcare, retail, media and entertainment, and financial services, and giving a number of possible use cases in its press release announcing the program:
- Encouraging customers to try a new smartphone or tablet app.
- Promoting movie trailers or games.
- Providing patient healthcare support via wellness videos.
- Encouraging customers to browse mobile shopping sites.
- Allowing businesses with 'Bring Your Own Device' policies to pay for the data employees use for specific business-related apps and services.
- Enhancing customer loyalty programs by providing sponsored data access to products and services.
For users, the program will be nearly invisible, with post-paid customers receiving automatic access to Sponsored Data when on AT&T's domestic wireless network. Prepaid customers will not be able to use the Sponsored Data program.

U.S. cellular carriers have been in something of a marketing war in recent months, particularly between T-Mobile and AT&T. Recently, AT&T began a new promotion to offer up to $450 in credits to customers that switch to it from T-Mobile.

The new sponsored data program, if widely adopted, could reduce user concerns over data usage, particularly after AT&T has moved aggressively to wean customers off of its unlimited data plans.

Article Link: AT&T Introduces 'Sponsored Data' to Allow Businesses to Cover Cost of Mobile Data Downloads
 

BJMRamage

macrumors 68020
Oct 2, 2007
2,462
883
I am one of the few (from reading this topic on here a while back) that was interested in this idea.

I see it mainly for subscription model apps but imagine if when using the Target app, they "bought" your data. or ESPN would "buy" your data because they are selling ads within the app.
 

tdiaz

macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2006
449
24
Seems to be that it would simply be easier to just go back to the way it was. Remove the limits. It's obvious the network is going to be used. All the overhead keeping track of bits and bytes just contributes to the point of diminishing returns.

If they want to charge for something, charge for levels of throttling.
 

ptb42

macrumors 6502a
Oct 14, 2011
703
184
Do you really trust AT&T to get the accounting right?

I don't know if any business will actually be willing to pay AT&T for sponsored data, but a few questions immediately come to my mind:

  1. Will AT&T be able to account for the sponsored data on an accurate basis, or will they overcharge the sponsor?
  2. How long will it be before someone figures out how to exploit this, using sponsored data for their own purposes?
  3. Do I actually trust AT&T to charge sponsored data to the sponsor, and not "accidentally" deduct it from my monthly allowance?
 

springsup

macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2013
1,105
804
This is the first step of the end of net neutrality
Absolutely. How long before they start selling off prioritised traffic, so every other business that isn't paying AT&T suddenly becomes slower?

This is the beginning of the end. They start with seemingly-innocent things like this, but then there's going to be pressure to get more companies on board in order to boost revenue, and that's when it's going to get ugly.
 

eswinson

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2014
5
0
So basically if you are an average customer that doesn't use your entire monthly quota of bandwidth, AT&T figured out a way to double sell your data usage to no real benefit to you. If you are a Pre-Paid customer that monitors their usage pretty carefully and would benefit from downloading apps that don't affect your anemic bandwidth quota, screw you.

----------

Absolutely. How long before they start selling off prioritised traffic, so every other business that isn't paying AT&T suddenly becomes slower?

This is the beginning of the end. They start with seemingly-innocent things like this, but then there's going to be pressure to get more companies on board in order to boost revenue, and that's when it's going to get ugly.

As soon as they can get rid of those pesky net neutrality laws, they will.
 

Alumeenium

macrumors regular
May 15, 2013
200
67
I've talked to Lucent, the bandwidth is there, in fact there's tons of it

AT&T just keeps closing the faucet one contract at a time

what a joke :mad:
 

DIRSGT

macrumors member
Aug 7, 2011
99
60
NC
I see some employers/ businesses liking this concept. Now instead of reimbursing you on the full amount (or on a percentage) of your monthly smartphone bill, they will reimburse you for just what was business/ work related. That could be a decent savings for larger organizations...or another way to diminish a perk.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,413
2,043
Oh dear, it is starting. And of course the harbinger is AT&T. They start by promoting this as a feature for the customers (Free data for you!), but eventually they provide preferred sponsors with faster connections and the free web as we know it is gone. Big players get faster connections meaning big sites become more established and small startups get shafted with slower connections.
 

Tiger8

macrumors 68020
May 23, 2011
2,479
649
Jack prices!

AT&T will probably jack data prices even further, since customers now need 'less' data
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,030
24,670
Hey AT&T, how about when I don't use 5GB in a month (which you forced me to upgrade to so I could use my phone as a hotspot) you roll it over to the next month so if I happen to to over I get credit for when I was under and don't have to pay a stupid fee for going over?
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,605
4,082
I'm confused... how does this work?

Is this something like, I can download a crazy huge app from the appstore over cellular at the expense of the developer? Or all data used by an app will be paid for by the developer?
 

goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
5,622
2,076
long island NY
So basically if you are an average customer that doesn't use your entire monthly quota of bandwidth, AT&T figured out a way to double sell your data usage to no real benefit to you. If you are a Pre-Paid customer that monitors their usage pretty carefully and would benefit from downloading apps that don't affect your anemic bandwidth quota, screw you.
Not really, let's just assume company's do do this. If you have a 300mb plan and sometimes go over this would make it so you may not. I guess if a lot of company's did this you could even lower you data plan option. Tho I doubt many will use this.
 

Moshe1010

macrumors 6502a
Jun 27, 2010
828
80
I'm maybe missing something here. Why, as a business, would I like to purchase expensive cellular data plans for my customers than implementing a Wi-Fi network with APs across my shop/business?
 

unplugme71

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2011
2,782
743
Earth
If AT&T came out with Rollover Data, I'd be excited. Even if it was only rounded to the nearest 1MB.

This is just stupid. I see it going wrong in so many ways for both devs and consumers.

AT&T is going to drop their 300MB plan, make you start out on 1GB. Then lets say majority apps have this feature. So chances are you'll use less than 1GB but paying $30 for 1GB anyway. Now AT&T is double profiting.

Sometimes I wonder if AT&T is reading this and using what we hate most and going with those plans.

So I say. I HATE ROLLOVER DATA. STUPID IDEA EVER!
 

Scott90

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2008
273
0
I'm maybe missing something here. Why, as a business, would I like to purchase expensive cellular data plans for my customers than implementing a Wi-Fi network with APs across my shop/business?
It's more for businesses to cover data usage expenses made by its employees while performing work for the company.
 
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