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AT&T to let content providers pick up bandwidth tab with new 'sponsored data' service

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
Customers on AT&T's 4G network will soon be able to take advantage of a new program that shifts the burden of paying for some mobile data usage from users to content providers.

AT&T Sponsored Data


Ma Bell's new Sponsored Data service is designed to allow companies that distribute content to mobile devices to subsidize the cost of mobile data usage associated with that content, letting customers browse the web or watch videos without depleting their monthly data allotment.

AT&T envisions companies sponsoring new app downloads, movie trailer streams, video-based healthcare programs, and e-commerce sessions as well as more utilitarian applications like bifurcation of business and personal data usage for businesses implementing bring-your-own-device policies. The Dallas, TX company says the product is designed to be transparent for users, who simply need to look out for content marked with a Sponsored Data badge.

The program is "a win-win for customers and businesses --?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," AT&T Mobility chief Ralph de la Vega said.

In an apparent nod to those concerned with the ongoing net neutrality debate, AT&T promises that there will be no difference in network performance between sponsored and unsponsored data. The company has been embroiled in controversy for its approach to equal network access regulations, including a spat over its decision to block Apple's FaceTime service from operating over the cellular network, a choice the carrier later reversed.

All postpaid AT&T customers with 4G LTE or HSPA+ smartphones, tablets, mobile hotspots, or laptop modems will be eligible to join the Sponsored Data program at launch. DataConnect Pass session-based customers are also included, though other prepaid plans will not be granted access.
post #2 of 88

Hmmm. Seems like a good idea. Trying to think how ATT can screw this up.


Edited by christopher126 - 1/6/14 at 12:38pm
post #3 of 88
Awesome, Apple should sponsor map data for iOS devices.
post #4 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Awesome, Apple should sponsor map data for iOS devices.

Or Kanye can pay us to listen to his "music!"

post #5 of 88
Do not want
post #6 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Hmmm. Trying to think how ATT can screw this up.

Oh, easily. They are attempting to push their costs to the content providers. If the content providers fall for it by "sponsoring", the content providers will have to up the price of their service. The company does not care if the end user pays more, just that they are not perceived as the one increasing the cost. Plus, it's a double-dip: customers and the content providers.
post #7 of 88

So now we trust our data, personal interests, username, etc. to advertisers, game, and app developers? Didn't Snowden teach us anything?

post #8 of 88
So they are trying to wring additional money out of the the content providers, presumably with the incentive that non-participating providers will see less traffic, while not lowering the customers' costs (unless this becomes so ubiquitous that customers can choose lower data plans, which seems unlikely). Nice.
post #9 of 88
Decentralize the Internet.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #10 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dooky View Post
 

So now we trust our data, personal interests, username, etc. to advertisers, game, and app developers? Didn't Snowden teach us anything?

 

You may have misunderstood the concept here.

post #11 of 88

Unless I'm misunderstanding the story here, this sounds like nothing but good news. Why not enable certain apps or services to "pay" for the cost to download or stream something? They could make their money back with sponsorships also.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #12 of 88
One of the best uses for this will be for companies to offer their employees, customers, and clients free data and business-to-business access. If you're an electrician, you can locate what you need with a smartphone app, order it, and have it ready and waiting for you at will-call when you drop by. Paying the cost of that access means happy customers and more business.
post #13 of 88
i can pay or it myself.

or pay more for it via a sponsor who has to not only pay for the bandwidth itself but provide the overhead of figuring out how much the bandwidth costs and how much they're going to charge me for it and how much extra they're going to charge me for it (YAPC: yet another profit center) by increasing the price of whatever.

no thanks.
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post #14 of 88
Interesting move. It's the new 1-800.
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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post #15 of 88
I don't like it off the bat - in the end this could give AT&T less incentive to increase data caps, and over time more and more of the Internet is sponsored AT&T associates.
post #16 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by repentantfan View Post

Oh, easily. They are attempting to push their costs to the content providers. If the content providers fall for it by "sponsoring", the content providers will have to up the price of their service. The company does not care if the end user pays more, just that they are not perceived as the one increasing the cost. Plus, it's a double-dip: customers and the content providers.

Again, how is this any different from a 1-800 number? Were you against those as well? Companies aren't being forced to do it, and any company that wants increased traffic in these days of tiered and throttled data would be wise to offer it.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #17 of 88
what a completely nuts idea. Imagine one scenario, film company A decides to put a 'sponsored data' badge on a film trailer. Abuse by l33t group B sets up a worm to download this trailer as much as possible. ATT bill Film Company A for loads of data usage, they say 'no f'ing way' and on it goes.

now apply variations of this to anywhere else.

would be nice if it could work, but I can't see it.
post #18 of 88
This could be very useful to those AT&T customers who notice that, despite having a wireless intranet, their phones use cellular cloud services (of some kind) during some nightly activity. Seems to be a problem that when the phone is asleep and it performs some background synch operation, it defaults back to cell for the duration of the operation. This can be quite significant for AT&T users who are on the minimum data plan if Apple can identify and "sponsor" this activity.

Having said that, I don't trust AT&T. I'm sure they will find some way to migrate this into an anti net-neutrality strategy.
post #19 of 88
This is the content providers subsidizing data usage -- much in the same way that the carriers subsidize phone purchases.

If this is successful (and I think it will be) -- I think that there are several upsides:
  • the user has access to more content
  • the user choses the content he consumes (and when and where)
  • content providers can better target, plan, budget and manage delivery costs
  • carriers can better target, plan, budget and manage network costs
  • carriers' expansion of network coverage and speed will be pay-as-you-go rather than front-loaded risk with delayed ROI

I can envision advantages to the consumer:  more content available in more places at less cost.

For example, wouldn't it be nice to be able to stream, say, the NFL Playoffs to your iPad, while stuck in the waiting room at a hospital (or waiting for the snowplows at Donner Pass)?
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post #20 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Interesting move. It's the new 1-800.

I don't normally agree with you, but on this one, you're totally right.

post #21 of 88
Great. I know that ESPN was in favor of this. Soon you can watch a game outside of wifi and not have to incur the data
post #22 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by repentantfan View Post


Oh, easily. They are attempting to push their costs to the content providers. If the content providers fall for it by "sponsoring", the content providers will have to up the price of their service. The company does not care if the end user pays more, just that they are not perceived as the one increasing the cost. Plus, it's a double-dip: customers and the content providers.

I knew it! Thx! :)

post #23 of 88
This is exactly what Net Neutrality is fighting against, this being the flip-side of the pay-to-play coin.

At first it will be "sponsored data as an exception", eventually it will become the rule. Ultimately, you and I will end up paying more.

What we should be working towards is what Sprint and Tmobile are going for: unlimited data - which most importantly means: no random overage charges.

I haven't paid a data overage fee for the past 8 months on TMO (while we paid one at least 2-3 times a year in the 4 years on ATT and Verizon before that).
post #24 of 88
Anyone think Apple will cover the bill so people can use iTunes Radio in Thier car?

I'd pay $10 a month for that
post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

You may have misunderstood the concept here.

It seems incongruous to me that someone named "Muppetry" could make such an astute observation.

 

Made me laugh! :)

 

Best.

post #26 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I don't normally agree with you, but on this one, you're totally right.

Thanks. It makes total sense, our need for more data is only going to increase. I did most of my Christmas shopping from my phone, and on occasion will watch a TV show I missed on it, these things were not possible just a few years ago. So having a company like Netflix or Amazon foot the bill for my data usage accessing their content makes a lot of sense.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #27 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

Unless I'm misunderstanding the story here, this sounds like nothing but good news. Why not enable certain apps or services to "pay" for the cost to download or stream something? They could make their money back with sponsorships also.

I'm kind of with you here, Spam. Not sure I understand the "ins-and-outs," but anything to throw a monkey wrench into the status quo is fine with me. 

 

Right now the telcom (and Cable companies) are acting like the Railroads of old. Spending more time, effort and money bribing Congress to protect their monopolies than truly providing good services and innovating. :)

post #28 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Again, how is this any different from a 1-800 number?

And why do we need 1-800 numbers? Have you forgotten most phone service now includes unlimited long distance?

The content providers pay their ISP for access, and the end users pay their's. And this will only lower AT&T's costs; it will not lower the end user's costs in the long run.
post #29 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I'm kind of with you here, Spam. Not sure I understand the "ins-and-outs," but anything to throw a monkey wrench into the status quo is fine with me. 

Right now the telcom (and Cable companies) are acting like the Railroads of old. Spending more time, effort and money bribing Congress to protect their monopolies than truly providing good services and innovating. 1smile.gif

I disagree, they're all rolling out LTE at a fantastic rate, with VZW leading the charge, which surprised me. As far as innovating goes I'm not quite sure how they can do things any different than every other telecom does this world over. It's only natural that as some revenue streams dry up that they add others and this time at no cost to us.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #30 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

One of the best uses for this will be for companies to offer their employees, customers, and clients free data and business-to-business access. If you're an electrician, you can locate what you need with a smartphone app, order it, and have it ready and waiting for you at will-call when you drop by. Paying the cost of that access means happy customers and more business.

 

And the reason you can't do this now is because....?

post #31 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

...(or waiting for the snowplows at Donner Pass)?

Damn, all of sudden I'm really hungry! :)

 

Quick note: The other morning, my GF, BJ (not her real name.) went to the fridge to get the strawberry jam jar for some toast. I had used all the jam up, and for no particular reason, put the empty jar back.

 

She opened it up and while holding up the empty jar to her eye, said, "What the hell is this? It's like the Donner Party round here!"

 

The reference really made laugh, as did yours.

 

Sorry, rambling.

 

Best.

post #32 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

Unless I'm misunderstanding the story here, this sounds like nothing but good news. Why not enable certain apps or services to "pay" for the cost to download or stream something? They could make their money back with sponsorships also.

 

I'm dismayed how many of you are falling for this. The "cost" of data is a manufactured one. It is not as if AT&T is paying someone else to carry data. They are the data carrier! They can make the data "cost" whatever they want. There is no "savings" to be found here by anyone. There is just more profit for AT&T by making both ends of a data transmission pay for it. Stop buying into the deception!

post #33 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post
 

 

I'm dismayed how many of you are falling for this. The "cost" of data is a manufactured one. It is not as if AT&T is paying someone else to carry data. They are the data carrier! They can make the data "cost" whatever they want. There is no "savings" to be found here by anyone. There is just more profit for AT&T by making both ends of a data transmission pay for it. Stop buying into the deception!

OK.

post #34 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by repentantfan View Post

And why do we need 1-800 numbers? Have you forgotten most phone service now includes unlimited long distance?

The content providers pay their ISP for access, and the end users pay their's. And this will only lower AT&T's costs; it will not lower the end user's costs in the long run.

We mostly don't need them anymore and haven't for quite some time but yet there still are people out there that don't have unlimited nationwide calling. It won't lower your cost but it will prevent you from overage charges plus you're more likely to use that companies site more often because it not using your data. They make more money thus making it a smart move.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #35 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


I disagree, they're all rolling out LTE at a fantastic rate, with VZW leading the charge, which surprised me. As far as innovating goes I'm not quite sure how they can do things any different than every other telecom does this world over. It's only natural that as some revenue streams dry up that they add others and this time at no cost to us.

I suppose.

 

I've had a bad experience with ATT. Got the orig. iPhone, grandfathered in "unlimited data." Paying $110/mo. Got a new iPad and wanted to "tether" it to my iPhone 3GS (I think) and they not only wanted to charge me an additional $40/mo., they said, b/c I was changing my plan, I would lose my "unlimited data" featured. I canceled my account and went to Sprint.

 

Hope that doesn't sound too petty, but my natural, default position as far as telcom's is one of distrust. 

 

Also, I'm not as well-versed in the European services as I should be, but what little I've been able to glean (mostly from these boards) they offer better value. (I may be wrong about this.)

 

Yep. LTE is good! :)


Edited by christopher126 - 1/6/14 at 3:41pm
post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

I'm dismayed how many of you are falling for this. The "cost" of data is a manufactured one. It is not as if AT&T is paying someone else to carry data. They are the data carrier! They can make the data "cost" whatever they want. There is no "savings" to be found here by anyone. There is just more profit for AT&T by making both ends of a data transmission pay for it. Stop buying into the deception!

So we've been getting ripped off by the telecoms for the last 100 years or so? Freaking telecoms, how dare they make money with manufactured rates.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by repentantfan View Post


Oh, easily. They are attempting to push their costs to the content providers. If the content providers fall for it by "sponsoring", the content providers will have to up the price of their service. The company does not care if the end user pays more, just that they are not perceived as the one increasing the cost. Plus, it's a double-dip: customers and the content providers.

 

It's as if AT&T were providing a service by merely sitting at the end of a pipe and charging access. Everyone providing the dang "content" on the Internet is just a useless data waster in there business model.

 

And let's add that the Pipe they sit on the end of was paid for by taxpayer dollars, and their service is building the last mile to the customer -- and charging and charging and charging.

 

Why exactly don't the content producers charge everyone to access their CONTENT, and then based on a piece of their "sit on the end of the pipe and put up a toll booth" they would pay the content providers back? I don't know - it sounds too much like a merit based system to me, and in America, we've got to over feed the parasites and charge the dog for the blood.

post #38 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


So we've been getting ripped off by the telecoms for the last 100 years or so? Freaking telecoms, how dare they make money with manufactured rates.

The business model for AT&T is to charge forever for the Toll booth -- the taxpayer and providers pay for the road.

 

Now if you didn't have a toll booth at the end of the Internet, you might suspect that AT&T were making money for nothing -- but you see, they've got to have really high quality toll booths.

post #39 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post
 

 

I'm dismayed how many of you are falling for this. The "cost" of data is a manufactured one. It is not as if AT&T is paying someone else to carry data. They are the data carrier! They can make the data "cost" whatever they want. There is no "savings" to be found here by anyone. There is just more profit for AT&T by making both ends of a data transmission pay for it. Stop buying into the deception!

 

I have to wonder if there is ANY cost to the internet after the electricity is turned on. I mean, sure there are "bits and bites" moving along it, but isn't there a certain amount of data capacity that is unused? If I have a wire with a certain current -- is it "expensive data" if I measure the fluctuations or not? There may be some spinning platters that temporarily store data for various NSA uses, but other than the fiber moving all these bits, it's a fixed cost until they add a new line.

 

We have absolutely NO IDEA what it costs to run the internet. It isn't ZERO, so we only have the good intentions of the data providers at the toll booth operators (also known as an ISP) of what it requires. In many circumstances, and locations, providers have a monopoly on service.

post #40 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


So we've been getting ripped off by the telecoms for the last 100 years or so? 

Yep, pretty much.

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