Verizon will begin testing sponsored data in the coming days. The data will let Verizon customers access select content without having to use up any of their monthly data allotment. Sponsored data will only be available from a few companies at first, Verizon told Re/code, but the program is expected to be available to everyone “at an affordable rate” in 2016.
“The capabilities we’ve built allow us to break down any byte that is carried across our network and have all or a portion of that sponsored,” Verizon Executive VP Marni Walden explained.
AT&T has been testing a Sponsored Data service since early 2014. Any Sponsored Data that an AT&T customer uses is broken out separately from their regular data allotment, and they aren’t billed for the Sponsored Data usage. AT&T hasn’t made any announcements about when or if Sponsored Data will see a wide rollout.
The concept of sponsored data is interesting, because it lets certain companies give access to their content without forcing the consumer to use up any of their limited data. Most folks are on a limited data plan, and so there may be some people that are hesitant to consume content because they want to conserve their data allotment. With sponsored data, they won’t have to use up their allotment, so they may be more willing to consume a company’s video or whatever. However, some are concerned that sponsored data could be unfair because while larger companies would have no issue paying for consumers’ data usage, smaller firms may not be able to do the same.
What do you think of sponsored data? Are you ok with it or do you think that it raises a net neutrality issue?