AT&T Suggests Developers Pay Users’ Data Fees

Games on the iPad

Games on the iPadAT&T is considering a plan to allow mobile developers to pay the data charges associated with using their apps.

John Donovan, the head of AT&T’s network and technology business, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, likened it to toll-free calling:

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.

That could be a boon for users nearing their data limits. AT&T and Verizon Wireless have discontinued their unlimited data plans and overage charges get pricey really quickly. No data charges could be appealing, especially, for use of streaming video, which eats up bandwidth quickly. Donovan also was quoted as saying:

What they’re saying is, why don’t we go create new revenue streams that don’t exist today and find a way to split them.

USA Today sees the difference as a a free game app versus a $2.99 version that doesn’t count toward the user’s data limit.

However, such a plan could provide an advantage to larger companies that can afford to pay the data fees, while individual developers likely could not. And as writer Steven Musil put it at CNET:

Also, by allowing companies to pay for customers to have better access to content, the specter of Net neutrality returns.

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No Responses to “AT&T Suggests Developers Pay Users’ Data Fees”

March 01, 2012 at 8:31 am, brp said:

So … I get a one-time fee of 70% of $2.99, and after paying rent and salaries for my staff, providing support, and hosting game servers, I should pay AT&T $2.75 for every hour someone plays?
Or just give them a Google Maps link to the nearest *decent* mobile provider?

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March 02, 2012 at 2:36 pm, I agree with BRP said:

AT&T and Verizon are total rip off artists when it comes to bandwidth. There is no reason in the world you should have to pay for data usage at this day and age. Network switches get faster and faster yearly. Which allows more traffic to pass through the pipes. So as the pipes get fatter the data should flow more freely not slower. Stupid greedy people!

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March 29, 2012 at 12:18 am, Daleinaz said:

What do you think the ratio of content to ads will be in those “free to the user” apps?
I don’t have a smart phone. My dumb phone sits on the dresser most of the time. I work on a computer all day; when I leave work, I really don’t want to stare a tiny screen.

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