Feeds

AT&T plan: Let content providers pay your bandwidth bill

Sounds good at first, but...

High performance access to file storage

AT&T is developing a plan that would allow mobile-application developers and content providers to pay for the wireless bandwidth required to use their apps or downlload their content.

"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," AT&T CTO told the The Wall Street Journal at the Mobile World Congress 2012 currently underway in Barcelona.

It's an intriguing idea, to say the least. Currently, mobile providers such as AT&T and Verizon charge their subscribers a stiff fee if they exceed their plan's data limits. Consequently, frugual mobile users who might otherwise be tempted to, say, download a movie might not do so if they believe the payload might pop them over their cap.

If the content provider were to pay for the download – like an 800-number owner pays for the call – users might be more likely to fork over the fee for the content, knowing that despite that outlay, their capped plan was safely below cap.

"It'd be like freight included," Donovan told the WSJ referring to the online-retaliing lagniappe that boosted internet sales during the recent holiday shopping-shipping season.

There are a lot of uncertainties to the concept – such as how billing might be arranged and if content, app, and service providers could offer "the first one's free" loss leaders – but it's likely that one upshot would be increased bandwidth use overall on already heavily laden wireless-provider systems.

Or, just possibly, maybe those systems aren't quite as overstressed as AT&T and others would like us to believe as they lobby the Federal Communications Commisssion for access to more precious bandwidth.

And if you'll permit us to break out our tinfoil hats for a moment, perhaps the widespread adoption of such a system might lead wireless carriers to lower their bandwidth caps, using the argument that content providers – only the ones who've signed onto the the plan, of course – are subsidizing a good chunk of your bandwidth.

Doing so would simultaneously squeeze smaller, more independent providers and shrink your data plan so much that you'd be forced to choose between using only "800 number" providers or upgrading to a more expensive plan in order to download unsubsidized data. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.