In reality, data is really, really cheap to move. But if you’re an internet service provider, add infrastructure, maintenance, repair and expansion costs and you have yourself a bill or two to pay off. So, why not make someone other than your customers foot that bill? AT&T’s been doing Data Perks — surveys done on behalf of third parties for up to an extra gigabyte of data a month.
But Verizon will likely beat out Big Orange to reach what looks to be a high bar for “sponsored data” implementation as it begins testing on free data on selective content. Of course, it’s not really as the content creators are the ones paying the toll.
Verizon’s executive vice president says only a few partners will be included in the beta period before an expansion during the upcoming Q1.
There are net neutrality concerns regarding toll-free data. The case may be that smaller companies won’t be able to afford to take part in such a scheme while larger companies will be able to use it as a marketing chip. AT&T believes that since traffic isn’t technically being prioritized, neutrality worries are irrelevant.