In a novel move that wasn’t entirely unexpected thanks to a report from back in 2012 but is still very intriguing nevertheless, AT&T on Monday announced a new program called “Sponsored Data” that could potentially have a huge impact on the U.S. wireless market. In a nutshell, AT&T’s Sponsored Data product allows companies to pay for the data used by specific apps so that the data consumed by those apps will not apply to AT&T subscribers’ monthly data limits. So, for example, a developer might offer a promotion where data used by its app is free to end users for a month, or Netflix might let AT&T customers stream the first episode of House of Cards season 2 without having to worry about how an hour of streaming might impact their data caps. Businesses can also use this new service to pay for data consumed by their employees while using enterprise apps.
“Customers love mobile content. Whether it’s shopping, banking, entertainment or personal wellness, mobile content is increasingly available for customers almost anywhere and anytime. And that’s what makes this 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,” said AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega. “This is an exciting new opportunity for us and, most importantly, our customers.”
AT&T’s full press release follows below.
AT&T INTRODUCES SPONSORED DATA FOR MOBILE DATA SUBSCRIBERS AND BUSINESSES
Customers Can Browse, Stream and Enjoy Without Using Monthly Data Allowance; Provides Opportunities for Businesses Across Multiple Industries
LAS VEGAS, JAN. 6, 2014— AT&T* today unveiled a new way for eligible 4G customers1 to enjoy mobile content and apps over AT&T’s wireless network without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. Similar to 1-800 phone numbers or free shipping for internet commerce, AT&T’s new ‘Sponsored Data’ service opens up new data use options for AT&T wireless customers and customer-friendly mobile broadband channels to businesses that choose to participate as sponsors.
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.
The Sponsored Data service allows sponsors across a variety of industries such as healthcare, retail, media and entertainment and financial services with the opportunity to better engage with customers and their own employees. This exciting new service offers data sponsors many potential innovative uses such as:
- 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.
“Customers love mobile content. Whether it’s shopping, banking, entertainment or personal wellness, mobile content is increasingly available for customers almost anywhere and anytime. And that’s what makes this 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,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility. “This is an exciting new opportunity for us and, most importantly, our customers.”
Content providers and other businesses can use this innovative network solution with existing mobile websites and applications. The service is easily integrated into existing platforms and services and will be available across many mobile devices and operating systems. Additionally, the unique developer portal website includes intuitive features which allow sponsors to manage their offers, check billing and measure impact of offers using a robust analytics engine.
Mobile data traffic on AT&T’s network increased more than 30,000% over the last six years2 and is expected to continue growing. Providing data via AT&T’s Sponsored Data service gives companies an effective way to reach consumers and expand engagement in the growing, mobile-centric landscape.
“As content consumption has evolved from analog to digital, so have the ways for companies to reach consumers,” said Andy Geisse, CEO, AT&T Business Solutions. “The Sponsored Data model is just one way we’re helping companies tap into our network to offer differentiated experiences and transform the way they do business.”
To find out more and apply for access to the service, developers can go to att.com/sponsoreddata. Businesses interested in learning more should contact their account rep or email@example.com.