Plenty of smartphone users are familiar with getting their phones for “free,” paying nothing out-of-pocket and seeing those costs subsidized by their wireless carrier. We also enjoy access to tons of free apps, with the cost of development often offset by advertising. But the one aspect of our mobile lives that has so far eluded this sort of funding structure has been our wireless data itself. Sure, there have been attempts to help users out with bills by delivering things like lock screen ads, but today we’re seeing two companies take things a little farther, as Facebook teams up with T-Mobile to offer users totally free data – so long as it’s Facebook you’re connecting to.
The offer applies only to T-Mobile’s GoSmart prepaid plans – and really only the two lowest tiers, as they’re the only ones without data. Starting in January, those users will be able to access Facebook, using either their browsers or a Facebook app (including Facebook Messenger), without needing to pay for a separate data plan.
We know, it seems kind of silly to own a smartphone and not sign up for a data plan, so this deal is going to be of limited usefulness, but it’s still a bit of a milestone. Could we someday see offers like this mature into something like “use Facebook for X hours a month and get $10 off your wireless bill?”