AT&T Working on System to Allow App Devs to Pay for Customers' Data Usage

045322 att 1AT&T plans to offer app developers and other mobile content providers the ability to pay for its customers' data usage on the carrier, according to the Wall Street Journal. The carrier compares the proposed service to toll-free 800-numbers for the mobile-broadband world.

[AT&T senior executive vice president for technology and network operations John] Donovan likened the service to toll-free calling for the mobile-broadband world. The move comes as carriers are hunting for new ways to make money on the rising data traffic on their networks, while mindful of limits on what consumers are willing to spend.

"A feature that we're hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage," Mr. Donovan said on the sidelines of a mobile-industry conference here.

Customer use of AT&T's data networks has exploded in recent years as smartphones have become increasingly popular. AT&T has made several moves to limit data usage, including dropping its unlimited data plan option and slowing the download speeds of its heaviest data users.

For customers on data-limited plans, the option to download a movie without it being charged against his or her data plan could be a motivating factor. Donovan compares it to including the cost of shipping in a catalog order. Of course, much like with "free shipping", while the customer wouldn't have to pay for the extra data usage directly, the cost would instead be bundled into the price of the app or service. Developers could, however, end up paying less for data than individual customers do if AT&T is willing to offer bulk purchase agreements.

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Top Rated Comments

Nautilus007 Avatar
160 months ago
At&t

These companies are getting very greedy. There has been numerous studies about how the majority of consumers barely use data. There is no shortage of data in most of the country the companies are just finding more waYs to continue to scam consumers.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slovak Avatar
160 months ago
That means AT&T will be lowering prices for the consumers?

I am not so naive...
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alsec Avatar
160 months ago
That means AT&T will be lowering prices for the consumers?

I am not so naive...

Just another way for At&t to screw people over
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
r.j.s Avatar
160 months ago
I don't see many devs taking part in this. The ones that do will just pass the cost on to the customers anyway.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
balamw Avatar
160 months ago
This might just make sense for folks like Netflix and Hulu, even Apple/iTunes/iTunes Match/iCloud.

B
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jackhdev Avatar
160 months ago
That's the stupidest idea they have come up with yet. How about they use the freakin 5 billion they get every month to create a network that works and be more generous? It won't affect them financially in any way. It costs them NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to send text messages, yet they want $20 every month for it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)