AT&T introduces Sponsored Data, lets companies pay for your data when you view their content

AT&T introduces Sponsored Data, lets companies pay for your data when you view their content

AT&T will soon rollout a new program that will allow customers to use AT&T's LTE network at no additional charge on top of their monthly data allotment. Sponsored Data, as it's being called, participating companies can pay when AT&T customers view their content on the network, things like movie trailers, mobile shopping, and more, and in return, they get your data. AT&T announced the initiative in a press release today:

With the new Sponsored Data service, data charges resulting from eligible uses will be billed directly to the sponsoring company; the customer simply enjoys their content via AT&T’s wireless data network. Customers will see the service offered as AT&T Sponsored Data, and the usage will appear on their monthly invoice as Sponsored Data. Sponsored Data will be delivered at the same speed and performance as any non-Sponsored Data content.

On the face of it, this is a useful move for consumers, giving them more flexibility in viewing content that they would look at anyway, without charging any more for it. But there are some important questions here. For one, AT&T says that Sponsored Data is delivered at the same speed as non-Sponsored Data, but is it only a matter of time before Sponsored Data takes priority? Additionally, AT&T implemented capped data a few years ago while saying that it was about easing network congestion. But if they're worried about congestion, how is letting their customers use more data without additional financial cost helping?

What do you think about AT&T's Sponsored Data program? Let us know in the comments.

Source: AT&T

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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Reader comments

AT&T introduces Sponsored Data, lets companies pay for your data when you view their content

14 Comments

Any way att can rack in more money charging twice for the same data. Good it will be "paid for" but interesting to see what all this will cover and how often it will be used.

You might want to re-think that headline, especially in light of the last 7 months of NSA stories -- the way that it is written it could be construed as AT&T is allowing companies to pay for your data (wireless charges) *or* as AT&T is allowing company to pay for your (personal) data.

The article itself is clear, but headline scanners might get the wrong idea.

Although on the surface this looks great for consumers, I think this is an end run around net neutrality. How is a small company going to compete with Apple or Google on this. Streaming video will be cheaper as bigger companies "pick up the tab" but a the small ones who want to break into this market will be priced out.

It will be "paid for" but at the expense of user data which, in my opinion, is relatively priceless. Also, I wonder how this will affect grandfathered, unlimited data users in the interim..

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It's the "Googleization" of data traffic... you don't pay for it directly, but oh how it costs you in ways you never realize.

Please tell me how having a Google account has inconvenienced or hurt your life. I'm not a huge fan of people hoarding and/or selling my data, but damn, you sound like a drama queen.

This sounds like a lot of bull. Like you guys I don't trust it. AT&T thinking about their bottom line.

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Joseph you make a great point with your statement "AT&T implemented capped data a few years ago while saying that it was about easing network congestion. But if they're worried about congestion, how is letting their customers use more data without additional financial cost helping?" I wonder how they will explain this one.

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Capped data was never about network traffic congestion. It was simply a cash grab, i.e., easing that greenback congestion out of our wallets. In the old days, I'd easily chew through 5GB's of data without breaking a sweat for my $30/month, but I stupidly gave up unlimited data. Sure, I could still use 5GB's, but I'd be paying an extra $20 to do so now. It's not like the moment I hit that 3073rd MB that all of a sudden, the cell towers start breaking a sweat and cursing my name. Funny how that extra cash makes that terrible network strain magically dissappear.

It sounds fishy and like some attempt at trying to set some new cellular trendiness in direct competition to other cellular services.

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At first I though this was a stupid idea from ATT. Why not simply let companies pay ATT for users going over by viewing their vids. Much easier all around.

ATT obviously isn't doing that for a reason so they can get more money and user data. These guys aren't in the habit of giving stuff away for nothing. Until, that is, people starting fleeing from them en masse like they did with Sprint and Tmobile.

At this point, I say, any change ATT makes, is another reason to get the hell out as fast as possible.