If you’re waiting for the days of a “toll-free” mobile internet, you may not have to wait much longer. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference on Wednesday, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said he expects content providers and app developers soon to starting paying the network freight for their content, FierceWireless reported.
Content providers could do this through direct payments to carriers, Stephenson said, but according to Fierce, he also said they could subsidize data costs through some kind of advertising revenue share. The end result, though, would be the same: content providers who pay would see their traffic exempted from customers’ mobile data caps.
Stephenson comments come a week after reports that arch-competitor Verizon Wireless is in discussions with ESPN for just such a toll-free data deal. What seemed like a crazy suggestion from AT&T and other carriers last year, now looks like it might become reality. But is it a reality we really want?
A content provider-subsidized internet would be appealing to many consumers, especially those on AT&T and Verizon since carriers have hunted the unlimited data plan to the point of extinction. Imagine streaming Netflix movies and ESPN games to your heart’s content without ever worrying about exceeding your data cap or incurring overage fees.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc