AT&T enabling businesses to sponsor mobile data for consumers

Summary:Borrowing a page from Amazon's playbook, AT&T is adding a new service in which customers can browse and stream specific digital content while corporate sponsors pick up the tab.


AT&T has introduced a new strategy that could end up pleasing both businesses and consumers at the same time -- so long as those consumers are mobile users who don't mind a few more ads sprinkled into their day.

Borrowing a page from Amazon's playbook with Kindle Special Offers, AT&T is adding a new "Sponsored Data" service in which customers can browse and stream specific digital content while corporate sponsors pick up the tab.

While the topic du jour at CES 2014 this week is undoubtedly the Internet of Things, one subject that many people seem to want to ignore altogether is costs.

Surely, there are a lot of costs when it comes to all things mobile, whether it be the devices themselves or the increasing concern that we're running out of spectrum .

AT&T itself admitted that mobile data traffic on its network had increased by "more than 30,000 percent" over the last six years. Save for the end of the world, there's no chance that figure won't continue to grow going forward. 

But likely the biggest costs plaguing consumers right now are exorbitant monthly data fees on their smartphones, and ever more so each year on tablets too.

With average caps at two to three gigabytes of data per month followed by throttling and other methods limiting streaming, consumers have to be more choosy in how they use their monthly data allotments too.

Thus, in order to get their digital content and products to the masses, sponsoring the data to do so makes all the more sense. Technically, it's a process already being put to use by many Wi-Fi providers at hotspots in airports, sporting arenas and other major public areas.

Now AT&T is just taking the idea and modifying it better for individual mobile users everywhere.

Topics: Mobility, CES, Data Management, Smartphones


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.